MOMBASA, KENYA: Landowners in a small village of Mwabeja in Kinango, Kwale County on Wednesday received a windfall after a private developer paid them sh6.6 million for their property.
The money was the remaining balance of sh12.3 million for the acquisition of a 41-acre parcel of land which is part of 270-acres where the developer is constructing a multi-billion steel factory.
In 2017, Baringo Senator Mr. Gideon Moi, Governors Salim Mvurya, and Dr Alfred Mutua officiated the construction of the sh50billion owned by Devki Steel Mills Limited.
"We now support the project. it is going to change fortunes of many Kenyans in the area," said Mr. Samson Lew from the Mwabeja clan.
In an interview, Devki Steel Limited Group chairman, Mr. Narendra Raval, said the factory which would be the second biggest in Africa after one in South Africa will employ more than 1500 workers.
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The plant is projected to produce 500,000 tons of steel annually, according to Raval.
On Wednesday members of the Mwabeja clan breathed a sigh of relief after they were paid the last tranche amounting to Sh6.6 million by the buyer Mr. Ibrahim Direye.
Mr. Lewa said they had sold 41 acres at Sh12.3 million to Direye through Uhutta Properties and New Connections Suppliers and he had settled to the bill.
“We have received the last tranche and we have freed our land to the buyer. We had a dispute with him since August 2019 and it has ended today,” Lewa said.
His cousin Mr. Joseph Mwahui confirmed that after the recent demonstration over delayed payment, his clan debt has been fully settled.
“We feared we had been short-changed but the buyer has issued us with the cheques for the last tranche. We are happy the dispute is now over,” Mwahui said.
Mr Direye said his firm has cleared the balances for the clans to resolve the outstanding issues over the land.
“We have sorted out the issues involving this land where the Devki steel mills is being constructed,” he said.
During the demonstrations, the clan members issued an ultimatum to Mr. Direye whom they said signed a land sale agreement with them in 2017 and refused to hold a meeting with the representatives of the steel firm.
“We demand the title deeds issued in favour of the new buyer to be canceled and we are ready to refund his down payment as he has not yet paid the balance for the land for the past three years,” Mr. Lewa had argued.
Mwayawa clan spokesperson Mr. Henry Mbita had said that the four clans had united in demanding immediate settlement of the remaining balance for the land sale after getting the information they could be shortchanged in the deal.