The National Land Commission (NLC) has moved in to assure over 700 families affected by the new meter-gauge railway in Mai Mahiu Naivasha that they will be compensated.
The commission noted that the process of land valuation would kick off next week so as to pave way for the 24km extension line from the Mai Mahiu SGR station to Longonot town.
The move follows an outcry from affected residents who had threatened to go to court to seek an order to stop the Sh3.5B project until the government compensated them.
But addressing the farmers, NLC Chief Valuation and Taxation officer Jacob Kipaa said that the laid down government procedure in compulsory acquisition had to be followed.
Speaking on Friday in Mai Mahiu, Kipaa said that the land where the railway would pass had already been gazetted and the names of those affected gazetted.
He said that all those whose land had been affected by the railway line would be compensated though this would differ depending on the assets on the land.
“We have already identified land where the railway line will pass through and informed the affected persons and we expect compensation to kick off in the coming weeks,” he said.
However, Naivasha Mp Jane Kihara who attended the meeting accused Kenya Railways of starting works on the railway line without getting consent from the land owners.
She said that despite being a Jubilee Mp, she was ready to go to court to stop the capital project until the issue of compensation was addressed.
“Kenya Railways who own the project have ignored public participation and they are bullying the farmers by destroying their crops and houses without first getting their approval,” she said.
She added that just like the inhumane demolition in Nakuru, the contractor on the ground was using force and threats to intimidate the peasant farmers, a vice she termed as illegal.
One of the affected farmers John Njoroge said that the contractor was already working on his land without his consent or compensation.
“Crops and property worth thousands of shillings have already been destroyed and our pleas have fallen on deaf years meaning more suffering for us,” he said.
This was echoed by Scolastica Waceke who said that the railway line was passing in the middle of their farm and a grave belonging to their late mother.
“We are being bullied by the government officers who have even ordered us to dig-up the remains of our late mother and dispose of them elsewhere,” she said amid tears.