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Lamu residents oppose wind power project

COUNTIES
By Kamau Muthoni | July 31st 2015

Lamu residents have moved to court to block establishment of a wind power plant in the area.

The residents in their case filed before Malindi High Court under a certificate of urgency complained that the proposed 1282.42 hectares project steered by wind power generating company, Kenwind Holding Ltd, would displace them from their ancestral land.

The court heard that more than 8,000 residents in Baharini ward would be affected by the multi-billion shilling project.

According to the residents' lawyer Ndegwa Njiru, the transfer of the land was done by Lamu County Government without consulting them.

Seven petitioners instituted the suit on behalf of the 8000 affected people, saying they have been living on the contested land that is adjacent to Lake Kenyatta Settlement Scheme since 1984.

"The petitioner avers that the illegal acquisition of the trust land without legally dissolving the trust will culminate in eviction of the petitioners from their ancestral land," lawyer Njiru argued.

The project is a joint venture between Kenwind and Electra Winds Kenya Limited and it will consist of 45 wind turbines and is expected to inject 90MW into the national grid.

The court heard that the Governor Issa Timamy-led administration had been holding the land in trust for the residents before it sold it to Kenwind.

"The act of allocating their trust to the fifth respondent (Kenwind) will cause the entire generation to suffer irreparable losses and their generations will be rendered landless, destitute and without any means of earning a livelihood," Njiru told Justice Oscar Angote.

Temporary orders

In their application, the resident told the court that once the project is in place, they will be required to be 300 metres away from the wind power farm.

They also fear that transfer of the land will deny them access to hospitals, ten churches, mosques, schools, boreholes and water pans.

In their application, the residents also asked the court to issue temporary orders barring transfer of the land before the case is heard and determined. The case will be heard on September 11.

The country has a high potential for wind power generation in Africa with the highest prospects being around Lake Turkana and the coastal regions.

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