Building of Sh24b dam to start as row resolved

From left: Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui, Gatundu North MP Wanjiku Kibe and National Land Commission Chairman Muhammad Swazuri after a meeting at Kiriko Primary School, Kiambu County, to resolve the row on compensation. [Kamua Maichuhie, Standard]
The compensation row that had threatened to derail the construction of the Sh24 billion Karemenu dam in Gatundu North, Kiambu County, has fbeen resolved.

Residents moved to court after they differed with the Government over compensation of land and property.

In a Kenya Gazette notice dated November 1, National Land Commission (NLC) acting chairperson Abigael Mbagaya announced that the commission had cancelled the initial compensation awards due anomalies in the computation of the amounts.

Dissatisfied with the NLC action, the residents petitioned the court to declare the two gazette notices, numbers 11370 and 11371, dated November 1, 2018 unconstitutional.

SEE ALSO :Lands Ministry and NLC clash over a disputed land in Kiambu

On Friday, Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui led a elegation, including NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri, senior ministry officials and officials from Athi Water Services Board to the area where he announced the row pitting the locals and the Government over compensation had been resolved.

Mr Chelugui said the Government had already given Sh1.2 billion to NLC to compensate locals who will be affected in the Phase One of the project, which will cover 171 acres for the dam embankment and water draw off structures. The money includes compensation for the land, structures and crops. NLC will pay Sh3 million for an acre of land excluding anything on it. 

Phase two will cover the reservoir area.

“The NLC as mandated by law has prepared a compensation schedule for the first phase of the dam. The total compensation amount for the 171 acres is Sh1.2 billion. I have already instructed AWSB, which is the implementing agency, to expedite the compensation process. This will be done in collaboration with NLC and other stakeholders,” said Chelugui.

The CS said the dam would produce 70,000 cubic metres of water per day.

SEE ALSO :KAA exposing land to grabbers, says agency

Prof Swazuri said the agency would start compensating residents on Thursday next week.

“I will personally come here on Tuesday to give out compensation awards. From Wednesday, you will start receiving the money,” said Swazuri.

According to NLC, more than 2,000 families will be affected by the dam.

Construction of the dam on 600 acres of land is expected to be complete in December 2020. Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu welcomed the project.

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NLCKaremenu damNational Land CommissionMuhammad Swazuri