The construction of Mwache Dam project in Kwale County which was expected to begin in March 2021 might be delayed due to a land compensation dispute between the locals and the National Land Commission (NLC).
The construction of the dam is a joint project between the National Government and the World Bank to a tune of Ksh 20 billion.
The dam is meant to harness floodwaters from Mwache River basin in Kinango Sub County and help tackle persistent water shortages in the coastal region.
The Mwache Dam will be an 87.5 meter-tall concrete gravity dyke, impounding 118 million cubic meters for water supply and irrigation and is expected to boost the water supply for Kwale and Mombasa counties.
The massive dam when complete is also expected to put 2,600 hectares of land under irrigation in Kwale County.
Led by Kwale County Women Representative Zulekha Hassan, Furugani residents in Kinango Constituency are now petitioning President Uhuru Kenyatta to halt the land compensation package until the matter is resolved.
Hassan is urging the Head of State to intervene as she accuses the NLC trying to shortage her residents in terms of proper land compensation rates for their land, houses, trees and crops.
Speaking when she led a protest against the compensation package of Ksh 350,000 per acre of the land which is far below the market value, Zulekha said there are a lot of inconveniences for the residents to vacate the land and relocate to a new site with the little money being offered by the government.
Juma Ndaro who represented the residents drawn from 24 villages lashed out at the government for short-changing them in the compensation package arguing it was not what they had expected.
He told journalists the project is in line with the government’s Big Four Agenda program and urged President Kenyatta to take the matter seriously and intervene.
”We are ready to have a roundtable talk with the government to negotiate on the package as we will not accept what they want to pay us which is below the market value of the land,” he said.
The aggrieved residents in addition said that there was no willing buyer agreement with the government and they had already petitioned the government through a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] which they have declined to respond to.