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Kiambu leaders differ on compensation, hit out at NLC

CENTRAL
By Wainaina Wambu | November 14th 2018
Gatundu North MP Wanjiku Kibe speaks at a Nairobi hotel where she had met Water CS Simon Chelugui and other Kiambu MPs. [George Njunge/Standard]

Leaders from Kiambu have differed over the compensation of the people who gave up their land for the construction of the Sh24 billion Karemenu II Dam in Gatundu North.

The dispute was centred on the fact that some of those affected wanted cash, while others asked the National Land Commission (NLC) to give them alternative land.

During a meeting convened by Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui yesterday, Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu said residents wanted 'land for land'.

This would mean that the NLC give them alternative land, equal to what was taken from each of the 246 people.

Mr Waititu said a piece of land had been identified 15 kilometres from the dam and those affected were happy to settle there.

“Yes we want water and Karemenu II Dam, but we want people to be compensated first. A good piece of land has been identified and people are happy to move there,” he said.

But Gatundu North MP Wanjiku Kibe (pictured) said residents had not agreed on whether they should be compensated with cash or given alternative land.

“We can’t force any of the options on the people. They have to choose what they want. Fifty per cent want money while the others have identified pieces of land they say they wouldn't mind moving to,” she said.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria told the CS to pay the land owners.

“Our people want money so they can make their own plans. Just give us the money,” he said.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa called for caution in compensating the residents.

"People may take the money then find the land too expensive or be given alternative land far from their original homes," he said.

Kiambu Town MP Jude Njomo said land-for-land compensation was not a good idea.

“People should be compensated adequately so that they can settle where they want,” said.

Other MPs present were James Kamau (Kabete), Jonah Mburu (Lari), Simon King’ara (Ruiru), Woman Representative Gathoni Muchomba and Peter Mwathi (Limuru).

The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment, Kareke Mbiuki, Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire and County Commissioner Wilson Wanyanga also attended the meeting.

The leaders accused NLC of distorting the valuation of part of the land and asked police to investigate the agency. They said action should be taken against the officials who had distorted the valuations.

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