Politicians threaten to disrupt Lamu port launch over payout
Lamu leaders have threatened to disrupt the launch of the Lamu port saying the grievances by residents, set to be affected by the project, have not been addressed.
Speaking at Lamu Fort in Amu Island on Saturday, Lamu East MP Athman Shariff, who was flanked by other local leaders, said the compensation status of Kwasasi farmers, fishermen and Kililana Phase 2 landowners had not been resolved despite the plans to complete the second and third berth in 2020 moving ahead.
“As things stand, the fate of the fishermen compensation is unknown, Kwasasi farmers and Kilana landowners do not know whether they will get the payout with claims that Lapsset already has a single title deed for the land in question despite it being ancestral land,” he said.
Shariff raised concern over the Lapsset’s scholarship programme which was supposed to support 1,000 youths with university and advanced diploma courses saying only 400 youths have benefitted from the programme.
“Those who have benefited from the programme have yet to get their degree certificates because of school fees arrears, Lapsset has failed to pay up for these youths to get the jobs they were promised,” he said, adding that more than 60 per cent of youths under the programme had been affected.
He said if the trend seen in the scholarships programme is anything to go by, then residents are likely to be short-changed once the port project takes off.
Lack of opportunities
“The President needs to be made aware of Lamu people’s sentiments that we feel marginalised in terms of opportunities especially by the Lapsset Corridor Development Authority (LCDA),” he said.
Lamu County Assembly Majority Leader Aboud Babad said residents are concerned that they are being taken for granted by LCDA.
“There are a lot of pending issues with regards to compensation, job creation and scholarships that LCDA has failed to resolve and unless the President allays our fears, there will be no launch of the Lamu Port next month,” Babad said.
The President is expected to launch the Lamu Port next month.
Lamu County Commissioner Macharia Irungu, speaking when he met local leaders, said the national government was aware of the grievances raised and would seek a resolution to the same.
He acknowledged that the leaders and residents had a right to picket and express their grievances, but expressed optimism that a resolution would be found before the launch date. -KNA