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Farmers block project in pay dispute

CENTRAL
By By JOB WERU | June 19th 2013

By JOB WERU

Nyeri, Kenya: Tens of farmers in Othaya constituency, Nyeri County have protested over trespass and destruction of property in their land allegedly by Tana Water Services Board.

The farmers alleged that the water provision body constructed sewerage pipes in their farms and despite a valuation that was conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture last January, they are yet to be compensated.

The farmers, through their spokesman, Mr Wambugu Nyamu, said the board duped farmers that they will be compensated for the crops destroyed. “They also claimed that the Government does not compensate for trees destroyed, and we are now ready to block the project until our issues are heard and demands granted,” said Nyamu in an interview with The Standard.

Nyamu said there was no official communication from the board. “In February, some farmers were said to have been compensated for crops. However proper and adequate compensation was not done,” he said. The farmers said in a meeting held in Othaya, an official of the board admitted that adequate compensation had not been done, and they would be compensated before the contractor entered their farms.

But the board Chief Executive Officer Moses Naivasha said the compensation process was going on and farmers have no reason to worry. “Compensation is a process. At the end of it we will have compensated all those affected,” said Naivasha, adding some farmers had already been paid with some receiving their compensation as late as last week.

The farmers would however hear none of it. “Now the contractors are on site, while the board is yet to honour pledges,” they said.

In a separate complaint letter sent to Nyeri South Deputy County Commissioner, a farmer, Mr Peterson Githu claimed that the contractor not only started digging trenches, but also occupied larger areas than pre-arranged.

“Please note that if no favourable engagement is done within seven days, we shall take the necessary legal and mass action to stop the project,” read the letter in part.

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