GEOTHERMAL POWER

Tens of families thrown out of Kedong ranch

Akiira Geothermal plans to put up a Sh9 billion power plant on the site

In Summary

• The eviction followed after the acquisition of Kedong ranch by Akiira Geothermal Company Limited

• Administrator accuses some of those evicted of encroaching on the ranch expecting compensation

Tens of Kedong ranch families are homeless after their homes were destroyed by the police following the expiry of a one-month quit notice. 

Some of the houses were set ablaze. A number of people were injured and their personal effects burnt.

The eviction followed after the acquisition of Kedong ranch by Akiira Geothermal Company.  The company plans to construct a Sh9 billion power plant on the site.

Naivasha Deputy County Commissioner Mbogo Mathioya confirmed the eviction. He accused those kicked out as encroachers.

Mbogo said the families had been given ample time to move out for the construction of the power plant to start but they had ignored the notice.

“The families were ushered out of the land peacefully to pave the way for the geothermal exploration by the private developer,” he said.

He accused some people had encroached on the land expecting compensation.

But one of the victims, Justus Ekeno, termed the eviction inhuman. “We were ambushed and all our property burn. This is the most inhuman thing that can occur to families that were previously employed by Kedong and know no other home,” he said.

Last week, Akiira spokesman Anthony Kahindi told a baraza that the invasions were frustrating their drilling.

Kahindi said the company expects to conclude the engineering, procurement and construction contract as well as operation and maintenance contracts by end of next year.

“It is anticipated that AGL will commence production drilling and power plant construction for the first phase 70 megawatts in early 2020 and achieve commercial operation in early 2022,” he said.

He noted that a section of human rights organisations and lobbies were frustrating the project's progress through scientifically unfounded reports and malice.

“We have been accused of all manner of ills by some activists which are all lies but we are keen to work with all stakeholders to make sure that this project is a success,” he said.