KIBWEZI-KITUI ROAD PROJECT

Kitui landowners cry for compensation five years on

The project displaced about 5,000 persons who either lost their land, homes and business premises

In Summary
  • The Kibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui-Kabati-Migwani road project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.
  • The project is being undertaken by the Chinese firm, Sinohydro Corporation and is scheduled to be completed in May.
People displaced by the tarmacking of the Kibwezi-Kitui-Migwani road led by Joseph Wambua (in the foreground) outside the Kitui county commissioner’s office on Thursday, March 3.
LAND COMPENSATION: People displaced by the tarmacking of the Kibwezi-Kitui-Migwani road led by Joseph Wambua (in the foreground) outside the Kitui county commissioner’s office on Thursday, March 3.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

Kitui residents displaced by the ongoing tarmacking of the Sh21 billion Kibwezi-Migwani road are demanding Sh1.6 billion in compensation.

The Kibwezi-Mutomo-Kitui-Kabati-Migwani road project was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.

The project is being undertaken by the Chinese firm, Sinohydro Corporation and is scheduled to be completed in May.

However, the project displaced about 5,000 persons who either lost their land, homes and business premises.

The victims are yet to be fully compensated five years after the project commenced.

The victims have resorted to staging peaceful demonstrations outside the Kitui county commissioners office in an effort to catch the government’s attention.

Their plea for compensation has however been met by promises that never materialise.

On Thursday, the group staged another demonstration to continue pressing for compensation.

The group led by Joseph Wambua were addressed by deputy county commissioner Dorcas Rono.

Kitui deputy county commissioner Dorcus Rono addressing the demonstrators who assembled outside the Kitui county commissioner's offices on Thursday, March 3.
RESIDENTS PLIGHT: Kitui deputy county commissioner Dorcus Rono addressing the demonstrators who assembled outside the Kitui county commissioner's offices on Thursday, March 3.
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

Wambua said the group had knocked many doors in vain and wants the government to speed up the compensations.

"We lost property such as houses and farms which were our source of livelihood. Life is tough and the government should stop the delays and pay up," he said.

The spokesperson said if the government won't act fast, the frequency and intensity of the demonstrations will increase.

“The government is courting a mother of all demonstrations sooner than later if it does not act on our cries,” he said.

Kanini Kitili who was among the demonstrators said she lost a big chunk of land.

She said it was unfair for the government to pay the contractor while no one cared about the displaced who have been reduced to a life of squalor.

"We ask our leaders to intervene and make sure that we are paid," Kanini said.

Kitui deputy county commissioner, Dorcas Rono, said the relevant authorities will address the issue appropriately.

"We would like to assure you that we shall follow up this issue," Rono said.

(Edited by Bilha Makokha)

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