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September 23, 2018

Squatters demand pay 42 years later

Governor Alex Tolgos shows a group of leaders parts of Kerio Valley on June 23rd
Governor Alex Tolgos shows a group of leaders parts of Kerio Valley on June 23rd

Kerio Valley residents have threatened to block revival of the collapsed Flourspar mining company unless they are paid compensation for their land taken over by the company more than 42 years ago.

Governor Alex Tolgos of Elgeyo Marakwet is furious with the state for delaying to release sh 1 Billion earmarked for compensating 4,300 people displaced from areas used for mining of fluorspar minerals in Kerio Valley.

Tolgos the families have been turned into poor squatters in their own homes.

“There is no point for us to do a lot of politics yet our people are living in abject poverty and many others have died since they were displaced from their homes”, said Tolgos.

He spoke on Sunday at Tursesia primary school in Kerio Valley.

A row is however brewing in the area after the families rejected a sh 1 Billion compensation offer from the government.

 The families are instead demanding to be paid sh 4 million for each of the more than 9,000 acres taken over from them for the mining activities. They want more than sh 3.6 Billion on total.

The families were displaced from Kimwarer Sugutek area and their spokesman Isaiya Chemase says they want proper valuation of the land before compensation is done.

“The money being offered by the government means our land will be undervalued and we will not accept that”, said Chemase.

Other community representatives Paul Mugun and Irene Kireng said they want the National Land Commission (NLC) to use independent valuers in the process.

NLC has said there are no clear records on whether any payout had been issued to the families before they were displaced.

The commission officials had confirmed that the families were displaced from 9,000 acres. The commission is investigating to establish if there was any payout.

CS for Miniing John Munyes met the communities and local leaders two weeks ago and said the matter will be handled fast but carefully to guard against double compensation.

The CS said they will ensure they implement President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to have the matter resolved.

Officers from the NLC have visited Kerio Valley to establish the truth on the compensation, which Munyes said has taken unnecessarily long to resolve.

The government plans to revive the collapsed Flourspar Mining company in Kerio Valley to create jobs.

Munyes said a new investor has been identified to take up the firm which collapsed more than three years ago.

Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wesley Kiptoo said the county will ensure the company is revived soon to improve county revenue but the families have to be compensated.

 “We will speed up resolution of the compensation issue so that a new investor can come in the next few months,” Munyes said.

He added that the region still has Flourspar deposits that can last more than 33 years. The company went under due to lack of markets, especially in Europe.

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