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Involve local communities in Uganda–Kenya oil pipeline negotiations

By Dr. Njenga Solomon | March 24th 2016 at 12:14:02 GMT +0300

The ancient Amos of the Bible (Amos 3:3) once asked “Can two walk together without agreeing on the direction?

Indeed, the battle line is already drawn. Locals and international stakeholders have come out guns blazing accusing the government of Kenya for side-lining them in the ongoing Uganda-Kenya oil pipeline deal. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government have already been trashed by Turkana county local leaders and Members of Parliament from the region accusing him of rushing to enter deals with the neighbouring Uganda without consulting them. The MPs demands the pipeline negotiations up until when they have been integrated into the negotiations. The locals now want the government to put in place proper infrastructure including laws of compensation etc. before entering any oil export deal with any company in the world. They demand locals and international stakeholder’s integration into the deal and this makes a lot of sense.

Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) project in Kitengela and other places have already stalled due to locals being sidelined in the deal. Maasais community and local leaders have halted this mega project lamenting that Ketraco is taking their land at a dead meat price. Indeed, the Kentraco deal has taken a dramatic turn with Maasai leaders now rejecting any plans of development before proper compensation.

Kengen mega project in Maella Naivasha has also staled due to local and community’s failure to agree on compensation. Maella people in Naivasha have completely delayed plans by the power-generating company to explore geothermal power from the land earmarked for development. CS Joseph Nkaissery was forced by thje locals to cancel the recent acquisition of 3,093 acres by Kengen because members were accusing Kengen Company of short-changing them.

 My take: Local and international stakeholders need to be involved to avoid stalling of this mega projects. Inclusivity in negotiation is the only better way to resolving possible conflicts. Peace is only made possible when people agree (Amos 3:3).

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Kenya Electricity Transmission Company oil pipeline
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