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Fix project land issues in Kenya

OPINION
By The Standard | October 12th 2016
Part of the reason the government of Uganda is said to have opted to build its oil pipeline through Tanzania is the high cost of land in Kenya.PHOTO: COURTESY

Part of the reason the government of Uganda is said to have opted to build its oil pipeline through Tanzania is the high cost of land in Kenya.

Whenever infrastructural development is earmarked for certain areas of the country, the going price of an acre of land more than doubles. This tends to have the negative effect of stalling such projects.

This phenomenon is squarely blamed on land prospectors who, working in cahoots with unscrupulous Government officials, purchase land identified for infrastructural projects like roads and Government offices in advance with the aim of re-selling it at exorbitant prices.

The Standard Gauge Railway line ran into headwinds at the Coast after the Mombasa High Court stopped its construction over a land compensation dispute. Similarly, the Lamu-Port-South-Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project was stopped in 2014 over compensation. In some areas, communities have held back development because of unrealistic demands for compensation.

All this will however be a thing of the past if proposed legislation barring courts from issuing injunctions in cases involving infrastructural projects is passed.

 While courts act in accordance with the law, this privilege has often been abused by a few greedy individuals to the detriment of many. The need for clear guidelines on compensatory rates cannot be over-emphasised.

 

 

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