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Sh75 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power project case adjourned to January 2015

By Ali Abdi | Published Tue, November 25th 2014 at 15:30, Updated November 25th 2014 at 15:32 GMT +3

Meru, Kenya: The High Court sitting in Meru has given parties in the Sh75 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power Project case two weeks to file their submission as the case was postponed to January 19, 2015.

Judge Justice Peter Njoroge adjourned the case allow the nine parties to make all their submissions before the full hearing commences next January 19.

In the meantime, Justice Njoroge directed on Monday that the Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited will carry out its activities of developing the wind farm within an area of 87.5 acres out of the total 150,000 acres pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Lawyers from the parties involved agreed with the court to prepare all their submissions including affidavits within two weeks.

The pastoralists from Loiyangalani and Marsabit South districts, both in Laisamis Constituency filed the case to stop the Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited last October 14 until their grievances are addressed.

Six plaintiffs who included four Members of Marsabit County Assembly---Mohamud Kochale (Laisamis), Issa Gambare (Kargi), Kochale Jale (Logologo) and David Arakhole (Korr) filed the case.

The defendants are listed as Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited, Marsabit County government, the Attorney General, Chief Land Registrar and the National Land Commission.

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The petitioners filed the application through Sagana, Biriq and Company advocates of Nairobi while Mohammed Nyaoga represents the first respondent.

The Plaintiffs registered themselves as community members and residents of Marsabit County representing the Rendille, Samburu, El Molo and Turkana communities who have high illiteracy levels.

They alleged in their affidavit that the 150,000 acres of land that will be used for the project is used by the residents as their ancestral land for grazing, traditional and spiritual purposes.

‘‘During dry season, the Plaintiffs move freely from one section of their ancestral land to another including the suit property (land set aside for the project), in search of water and pasture for their livestock’’, the said.

In their replying affidavit, the first respondent dismissed the six applicants as people who do not come from the project area and therefore do not represent the communities mentioned.

Nicholas Taylor, said the communities from the project area had given them support and attached a copy of a document the communities signed and gave to Wangira Okoba and Company Advocate of Nairobi last June 16.

‘‘The local communities have instructed the firm of Kiprop and Company Advocates to come on record for them as interested parties,’’ said Mr Taylor in his sworn affidavit.

The respondent also said the pastoralists’ movement with the livestock will not be affected as the project area will not be fenced.

It details the benefit of the mega project that will feed into the national grid additional 300 megawatt adding that it is one of the flagship projects under the country’s Vision 2030.

‘‘It (the project) will have an immense significance for Kenya as a whole, constituting the single largest investment. The first respondent has already paid over Sh 1 billion in taxes in Kenya towards the project,’’ reads part of the defense.

The firm also says it will undertake a 204 km of road rehabilitation in Laisamis Constituency.

The project is Africa’s largest wind farm and the single biggest investment by a private investor in the country.

The consortium, in its project disclosure document says; ‘‘the commercially financed Sh 75 billion investment will produce power that will be purchased by the utility Kenya Power over a 25 year period. During the construction up to 900 jobs will be created followed by 150 full time jobs’’.

According to the same document, the footprint of the wind farm will comprise 40, 000 acres (162 sq km). Of this area, 365 wind turbines will occupy 23 acres, the switch yard will occupy about 40 acres and the village including workshop will sit on a 25 acre land.

It aims to provide 300 MW of reliable, low cost wind energy to the national grid, equivalent to over 20 per cent of the current installed electricity generating capacity.

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