Lamu farmers demand transparency from multibillion wind energy investor
By Jane Mugambi | October 18th 2018
A company seeking to invest Sh21 billion in generation of wind energy in Baharini has promised to compensate affected farmers before starting operations.
Susan Nandwa, the coordinator of Kenwind Power Project, said they were waiting for valuation of the land before the farmers who gave up property for the project could be reimbursed.
The company that is planning to set up at Baharini near Mpeketoni has acquired 3,206 acres from 600 farmers.
“We are committed to transparency. We want to ensure our dealings with the farmers are open. We are only awaiting an independent valuation that will guide the compensation process,” Nandwa said.
The official further denied allegations that the firm was acquiring land illegally to avoid compensating locals. “The claim is unsubstantiated. We have ensured transparency since we started the process.”
Some residents and politicians have been pushing the firm to speed up compensation.
Nandwa said the valuation leading to compensation would be based on a Resettlement Action Plan formulated by the county and national governments.
Kenwind was awarded the rights to invest in wind power after a protracted legal battle with rival firm Cordisons International, which was keen to make a similar investment in the area.
In May, the High Court in Malindi dismissed a suit by Cordisons International that sought orders to compel the National Land Commission (NLC) to approve its land lease.
The firm argued it had secured the necessary approvals in a process it started in 2009. It said some of the approvals were made by the county government.
The court ruled that Cordisons made its application for the rights to the wrong party, noting only the lands agency had the powers to approve public land leases to private parties.
Cordisons, which had accused NLC of discrimination, has appealed the judgement.
“Kenwind was vindicated by a High Court ruling earlier this year, which found that we meet all the requirements to set up a wind energy project in Baharini,” Nandwa said.
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