The government has released Sh7.9 billion to compensate land owners affected by the construction of phase II of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
National Land Commission (NLC) Vice Chairperson, Abigael Mukolwe said the payments will start this week to allow the project that had been hit by protests to go on.
Those to be compensated include land owners from the Nairobi National Park to Rongai Railway Station in Kajiado county.
A statement released to media houses on Saturday, indicated that compensation for other areas is on course.
The money will be a relieve for hundreds of landowners who had paralysed the project to protest against delayed compensation for land taken over by phase two of the Standard Gauge Railway project.
According to the Kajiado North Member of Parliament Joseph Manje, failure by the National Land Commission (NLC) to expedite compensation for landowners was threatening the multi-billion project.
Speaking to the Standard, the MP said many people had lost their property following demolitions by the Chinese company constructing the railway and must be compensated before the project can proceed.
“It is now over two years since President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the NLC to pay compensations, why is the commission delaying the money?’’ he said.
The commission has been on the spotlight since Uhuru ordered the land compensation process to be finalised by the end of July to pave way for completion of the project and anticipated launch on May 31, 2019.
During a site visit recently, Uhuru directed the commission to fast-track compensation for all land owners affected by the project.
President Uhuru also challenged the contractor to stick to the project’s timeline.
Landowners expressed their frustration with the compensation process.
“We thought it will move smoothly as we had agreed, we are now almost losing hope even after our property was destroyed,” said Nathaniel Moiyanga, a resident of Kimuka area.
Ms Mbagaya had promised that compensation payments would start early last month.
Stay informed. Subscribe to our newsletter
A spot check by The Standard indicated that that no work has been going on in parts of the project at Twala, Ngong, Ole Kasasi and Kimuka where landowners have vowed not to let go of their land until they are paid.
However, work is going on in Kiambu, Narok and Nakuru sections of the railway where landowners have agreed on compensation terms with NLC.
The commission said the payments were being processed.
“I am happy to report to you that we have already finished reconciling the figures with the Lands ministry, we are just about to hand over the schedule to Kenya Railways to process the payment so that the contractor can move back to the site’’ said Mbagaya.
Speaking during the commissioning of the longest railway tunnel in the region at Embulbul in Kajiado County last month, Mbagaya said the delay to compensate residents was caused by lack of proper agreement between them and the government.
“Compensation of land by the Government is paramount, the only problem that caused us to delay to pay the money was lack of a proper agreement on how to pay depending on the damage that will be caused by the contractor,’’ she said.
She said the Lands ministry, NLC and Kenya Railways deployed land surveyors to various sites along the Nairobi – Naivasha SGR route to fast-track land acquisition.