KISUMU POWER LINE

Landowners block Ketraco contractor over payout dispute

Farmers call for an audit of the project funds paid to 'ghost' claimants.

In Summary

• The power company is constructing a 400KV power line to increase power supply to Kisumu from the Ol’essos national grid power station under World Bank and EU credit facilities.

• The line has however been dogged by delays due to the controversy surrounding compensation and valuation of properties

Solomon Rono blocks a grader from uprooting his tea bushes at Kapkoros village Ol'Lesos on Monday
Solomon Rono blocks a grader from uprooting his tea bushes at Kapkoros village Ol'Lesos on Monday
Image: Barry Salil

Landowners along the new Ol’Lessos-Kisumu electricity power line have protested against Ketraco's failure to compensate them for the wayleave.

They said Ketraco wanted to construct the power line without valuing their properties among them commercial buildings and tea bushes.

The power company is constructing a 400KV power line to increase power supply to Kisumu from the Ol’essos national grid power station under World Bank and EU credit facilities.

The line has however been dogged by delays due to the controversy surrounding compensation and valuation of properties.

Property owners within Ol’Lessos said Ketraco compensated people who have no land along the proposed line but was now arm-twisting those with genuine claims. 

They spoke during a confrontation with a Chinese contractor implementing the project on Monday.

The farmers called for an audit of the project funds, saying the harassment being meted on them was a precursor of corruption.

"We are not against government project, but we need our share of compensation. Ketraco has not approached us, yet the land is ours. Let them take the line to the people they paid," John Lagat said.

Mzee Kurgat Agui said they never signed any agreement with Ketraco and have yet to meet for valuation be carried out. 

About 36 landowners at Kapkoros village within Ol’Lessos have had their properties marked for demolition. 

They said the state power firm compensated “ghost” landowners and asked EACC, DCI and the Presidential Delivery Unit to investigate the matter. 

Spokesperson Jonathan Bungei said under the Compulsory Acquisition Act, the land acquiring body has an obligation to value it agree with the owners on compensation. 

Senior officials of the power firm were not telling the government the right position of the problems at Ol’Lessos, Bungei said.

Already, Ketraco has issued notices to landowners for the intended eviction to pave way for the construction of the line. The power-line was scheduled to be completed in 2017.

“This is a freehold land; we have reasons to believe that something unlawful took place that’s why they want to evict people to cover up the fraud on the government money,” Bungei added.

Ruth Mutai, 44, and Solomon Rono, 48, are among those whose houses Ketraco has earmarked for demolition.

“We have nowhere to go. These are our houses and homes. How can a government agency displace us from our homes?” Mutai asked.