Leaders demand coal plant details

Lamu County Representative Shakila Abdalla (right), flanked by the Chairman County's Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organisation Hindu Salim (2nd right) and among others adresses the Media at the Island of Lamu in lamu County on Sunday,029th November,2015.[PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD].

Leaders have accused an energy firm setting up a coal plant in the county of sidelining them. 

The leaders said the mega project was started without the participation of area residents.

“The company has not sought the opinions of local leaders, and less so, of the people of Lamu and their concerns that the project might contribute to the degradation of the environment,” said Lamu Woman Representative Ruweida Obo, 

Amu Power Company is a joint venture between Gulf Energy Ltd and Centum Investment. It has been tasked by the Kenyan government with building and operating a 1,050 megawatt coal-fired power-generating plant in Manda Bay.

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This is part of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project.

But according to leaders from the area, the company is yet to address pertinent questions raised by residents and environment activists.

Other sectors

“No one is opposing the project, but we need to be told whether it will come at the expense of other sectors,” said Ms Obo.

She called on the firm to be more transparent and more active in community projects.

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Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama said the company needed to hold more meetings to tell the public about the project and allay fears that it could cause environmental harm.

“Conservationists and proponents of the programme need to be shown the type of plant that Amu Power wants to set up in Lamu to have an informed debate on the project,” said Mr Muthama.

The leaders called for compensation for farmers in Kwasasi whose land was sub-leased to the firm.

Lamu East MP Athman Shariff said the farmers had not been compensated four years after the project began. 

Hindi MCA Anab Hajj, in whose ward the project is located, said the company needed to engage residents more.

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“People living near the project are already asking whether they will be able to farm once it kicks off,” he said.

Amu Power Company General Manager Cyrus Kimani said the firm had been in touch with local leaders since the project kicked off.

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