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October 24, 2018

Show us the money, Lamu fi shermen tell Lapsset group

 
Lamu fishermen conducting their activities in the Indian ocean. they want drilling along the LAPSSET corridor at Mkanda channel where ships will be passing to and from the port  stopped until they are compensated. Photo Alphonce Gari
Lamu fishermen conducting their activities in the Indian ocean. they want drilling along the LAPSSET corridor at Mkanda channel where ships will be passing to and from the port stopped until they are compensated. Photo Alphonce Gari

At least 4,000 fishermen displaced by the ongoing Lapsset corridor project have opposed a decision to deny them monetary compensation.

The decision to offer only comparable compensation was arrived at by the task force on compensation of fishermen affected by the development of the Lamu port.

During a meeting with the task force on Sunday, the fishermen said they will not accept anything less than cash, adding their livelihoods were destroyed by the dredging activities in the Indian Ocean.

This has led to the closing of traditional fishing channels.

During the release of the task force report on the mode of compensation in Lamu last Friday, Lapsset project manager Peter Oremo ruled out any chance of monetary compensation and said fishermen would only be paid in kind - tools, training and support adapt to fishing on the deeper and higher seas.

However, the situation took a turn for the worse when the task force met the fishermen and their representatives at Mwana Arafa Hotel on Sunday where the latter demanded they be paid in cash “just as the court ruled”.

In May, the High Court in Malindi ruled in favour of the 4,734 fishermen and awarded them a compensation package of Sh1.76 billion.

The fishermen said the cash must be shared equally among all the affected.

The court said the Lapsset project failed to meet basic constitutional and legal requirements and violated the Lamu community’s cultural rights.

Lamu Fishermen Association chairperson Mohamed Somo accused the Lapsset group of trying to sabotage and “twist” the court decision by attempting to force comparable compensation. “We wont take anything less than the cash. We went to court and won fairly,” he said.

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