Fresh fears as deadlock delays SGR land payout
By Peterson Githaiga
| Oct 27th 2018 | 2 min read
Phase two of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) may not meet its deadlines as protracted compensation wrangles jam the project.
The delay has been caused by a deadlock between the National Land Commission (NLC) and Kajiado County landowners whose land has been acquired for the project.
Nathaniel Moiyanga, a resident of Kimuka, says he is almost losing hope on the compensation.
“We thought this exercise would move on smoothly as we agreed. Now we are still waiting while our property has been destroyed during the construction works,” says Moiyanga.
Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje says NLC has failed to honour its promise on compensating the landowners, and the project cannot start until the payout is done.
“It is now over two years since President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the National Land Commission to compensate these people. I wonder why they decided to delay with the money,” says Manje. President Kenyatta had asked the commission to finalise the compensation by the end of July to pave way for completion and the launch of railway on May 31, 2019.
He also asked the contractor to stick to the completion timeline as he expects to board the train next year to Kajiado for Madaraka Day celebrations. NLC Vice Chairperson Abigael Mukolwe had promised payments were to start early last month but nothing has been done so far.
A spot check by the Saturday Standard shows no work has been going on in areas such as Twala, Ngong, Ole Kasasi and Kimuka.
However, work is ongoing in Kiambu, Narok and Nakuru counties as the landowners have agreed on compensation terms. “I am happy to report to you that we have already finished reconciling the figures with the Ministry of Lands and we are just about to hand over the schedule to Kenya Railways Co-operation to process the payment so that the contractor can move back to the site,” says Mukolwe.
Speaking during the commissioning of the longest railway tunnel in Africa at Embulbul in Kajiado County, the NLC boss said the delay to compensate the residents was caused by lack of agreement between them and the government on how to pay depending on the level damage that will be caused by the contractor.
The rail will pass through Nairobi, Kajiado, Kiambu, Nakuru, Narok and Naivaisha. Five stations will be built at Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu, Suswa and Nachu.
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