COMPENSATION IN KIND

Fishermen issue fresh demands for phase 2 Lamu port compensation

The compensation entails requital in kind including purchasing modern fishing gear.

In Summary
  • The fishermen want KPA to scrap any prior development plans that were to be included in the second phase of compensation.
  • The fishermen have also asked the KPA not to build cold storage facilities for them as the county government is already in the process of building those.
Lamu Island Beach Management Units (BMU) chairperson Abubakar Twalib speaks during a press briefing in Lamu Old Town on Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Lamu Island Beach Management Units (BMU) chairperson Abubakar Twalib speaks during a press briefing in Lamu Old Town on Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

Lamu fishermen affected by the construction of the Sh310 billion Lamu Port have issued new demands on how they want the impending second phase of compensation carried out.

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is set to commence the second phase of compensation worth over Sh600 million.

The compensation entails requital in kind including purchasing modern fishing gear for the fishermen.

Last month, the port agency carried out the first phase of compensation, which included monetary reparations where over 4000 fishers were paid.

Among the new demands, the fishermen want KPA to scrap any prior development plans that were to be included in the second phase of compensation as those were already being undertaken by Governor Issa Timamy.

The fishermen have also asked the KPA not to build cold storage facilities for them as the county government is already in the process of building those.

They instead want the cash directed towards establishing loan schemes for the local fishermen, purchase outboard engines for deep sea fishing as well as capacity building on offshore fishing.

In May 2018, the Malindi High Court awarded 4,734 Lamu fishermen Sh1.76 billion compensation package after they successfully petitioned KPA citing adverse effects caused by the dredging activities for the construction of the first three berths at the Lamu Port facility in Kililana, Lamu West.

The fishermen had argued that they would no longer be able to carry on with their venture due to the dredging activities.

They said their livelihoods would eternally suffer and as such, deserved compensation to enable them to pursue alternative livelihoods.

Phase one of the compensation plan, in monetary form, was carried out last month based on a 65 per cent share of the total Sh1.76 billion package.

The second phase, which involves compensation in kind, entails 35 per cent of the total compensation package which translates to at least Sh600 million.

Representatives of Lamu Port Affected Fishermen during a press briefing in Lamu Old Town on Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Representatives of Lamu Port Affected Fishermen during a press briefing in Lamu Old Town on Wednesday, July 10, 2024.
Image: CHETI PRAXIDES

Lamu County Fisheries Board chair Fuad Sheyumbe said undertaking infrastructure development under the compensation scheme would be a duplicate of duties already being undertaken by the county government.

“We are asking the KPA to instead use the Sh600 million to introduce fishermen loan scheme programmes, purchase outboard engines, carry out capacity building, including offering special training to our local fishermen on offshore fishing among other crucial issues,” Sheyumbe said.

The spokesperson of the Lamu Port Affected Fishermen Mohamed Somo, urged KPA to fast-track the second phase of compensation saying a lot of time had been lost.

Lamu Island Beach Management Units-BMU chairperson Abubakar Twalib urged the Authority to ensure all interests accrued in the Sh1.76 billion compensation package before it was released is added to the Sh600 million intended to compensate the Lamu fishers in kind.

“The compensation package was released a long time ago and it was being kept by KPA. We know there’s interest that accrued for all that period before the cash was released recently. We want to see the interests accrued added to boost the 35 per cent compensation package meant for the second phase," Twalib said.

KPA Corporate communications acting manager, Jones Buchere, said they were in the last stages of concluding the first phase of compensation before they embark on the second and last phase.

In the first phase, each individual fisherman received Sh241,700.

“It’s not just the purchase of fishing gear. Many other empowerment programmes will be undertaken in this particular phase as per what will be discussed and agreed upon by the fishers themselves, the county government of Lamu and KPA,” Buchere said.

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