Dry port project in limbo over tussle

Members of the Maasai community living in Suswa protest over their planned relocation to pave way for the construction of the Inland Container Depot in the area. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]
Construction of the multi-billion Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Naivasha has been thrown into disarray after families squatting on land earmarked for the project refused to vacate as agreed.

The pastoral community is now demanding for better compensation package before vacating a section of the 1,000 acres that has been set aside for the special economic zone.

The move comes barely two weeks after President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the construction of the depot with the Government allocating Sh6.9 billion for the project.

The area is part of the vast Kedong ranch on Mai Mahiu-Narok Highway where the dry port and Special Economic Zones are set for construction.

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Addressing the press after a peaceful protest in Suswa, the group said they were not ready to move from the land as there were compensation issues yet to be settled.

Their leader Simon Koilel said the 4,000 acres given to them in order to relocate was not enough, adding that over 10,000 families would be affected.

Mr Koilel said those who claimed to have bargained on behalf of the community to get the land had no blessings from them.

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He said though they welcomed the construction of massive government projects, they were not ready to move until they are duly-compensated.

“The land they claim to have offered us is not enough given the population that lives on this land and we are demanding more negotiations before we move out,” he said.

SEE ALSO :Grand SGR dreams die at Suswa

Community leader Patrick ole Kariasu said the Government ought to have spoken to them over the resettlement before planning to move them out.

Mr Kariasu said they received a message from Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya informing them to move from the land, adding that they were not ready to move.

“We will move to court to block this move by government until, we must be given our dues in line with the law,” he said.

He said they had lived on the land for ages and wondered why they were being rushed to relocate without addressing their complaints.

Esther Parisire, a resident, blamed four individuals from the area for misleading them by claiming to have received land on their behalf.

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“What can 4,000 acres do with this population, they should stop pretending that they care and give us our rights,” said Ms Parisire.

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