Elgeyo Marakwet leaders and stakeholders have resolved a row which had threatened to scuttle the commencement of Ksh63 billion mega hydro-power cum irrigation project in the region.
Area Governor Alex Tolgos and Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA)-the agency which has been given the green light to implement the projects had tussled over a raft of issues jeopardizing the process.
KVDA Board Chairman Sam Koma said his organisation will undertake construction of the two projects at River Arror in Marakwet West and River Kimwarer in Keiyo South sub counties, adding that KVDA will utilise the international standards when it comes to land compensation for the residents affected by the dam project.
The governor had opposed the commencement of the projects claiming that the issues surrounding compensation and the resettlement exercise of the affected families was yet to be adequately addressed.
“As a County Government, we are not opposed to the projects but we will champion for the interests of the land owners to avoid similar past cases where locals are displaced and shortchanged in their compensation and resettlement,” said Tolgos.
According to the governor there are hundreds people who have been left landless after they were displace to pave way for setting up of projects.
“We do not want a scenario that people will be left landless after they have donated their land. A proper compensation and resettlement plan must be put in place ahead of the construction works,” he added.
But at the closed meeting convened by the county commissioner Fredrick Ndambuki and brought together the county leaders, government agencies and other stakeholders resolved to back the projects and that KVDA to reach out to all land owners and discuss impending issues.
“There is no crisis in the county and all land owners will be fully compensated and this engagement will be continuous until the projects are implemented in their entirety,” said the county commissioner.
The administrator said that there is need for more cordial working relationship to ensure the partnership harnesses the huge potential and exploit available resources for the socio-economic development of the people.
KVDA MD David Kimosop assured they will not impact negatively on the livelihoods of the residents who will donate land.
“Families will be compensated according to IFC standards which guarantees that resident’s livelihoods become better after being displaced. We know of previous historical compensation issues and we do not want to back,” he said.