Homa Bay families demand compensation for land allegedly donated for airstrip

Residents demonstrate at Kabunde Airstrip in Homa Bay County to demand compensation for their land. The demonstration caused tension which paralysed services at the airstrip. [James Omoro, Standard]

At least 57 families in Homa Bay County are demanding compensation from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) before the planned expansion of Kabunde Air Strip.

The families claim ownership of the land earmarked for the expansion of the airstrip. According to them, the authority only compensated 58 families out of the 115 that had settled on the land.

In the expansion, KAA expects to expand the runway of the airstrip from 1.2 kilometers to 1.7 kilometers. 

The families further said before the authority embarks on the expansion works, it should honour the agreement and compensate the remaining families.

Kabude Land Owners Association spokesperson Stanley Okumu and chairman Charles Katinga said it is imperative if the land owners can receive the amount before KAA starts undertaking its activities.

“Land is an important asset whose transfer should be handled very keenly to ensure the owner does not lose it. Our appeal is that the people whose land has been earmarked for extension should be compensated before the work begins,” Okumu said.

Okumu who is the Vicar General of Pap Ndege Legio Maria Parish argued that those who have not been compensated get better rates than what was used in the first phase.

He argued the value of land has appreciated because the valuation used for compensating other land owners was done in 2019 where they were paid Sh800,000 per acre.

An aeroplane spotted at Kabunde Airstrip in Homa Bay county. [James Omoro, Standard]

He called on the KAA to undertake a new valuation to ascertain whether the amount per acreage would be increased.

Katinga called on the KAA to construct for them roads and other social amenities in the area as a corporate social responsibility.

He argued that many families have relocated to the sides of the airstrip where there are no roads, schools and other social amenities.

Kabunde Airstrip Manager Wycliffe Kadoya said KAA is ready to compensate the families.

He said majority of the families that had not been compensated have issues with land title deeds and once they sort them out, they will receive their money.

“We are ready to compensate the families but the problem is that they have issues with their title deeds. They will be compensated when they present the title deeds,” said Kadoya said.

Expansion of the airstrip is expected to boost economic activities in the county.

Homa Bay County Government Spokesperson Rachel Oguttu said full operations of the airstrip will open the county for tourism and business activities.