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Twaha seeks fresh Lapsset land deals

Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha has asked for a renegotiation of the  Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) corridor project land deal terms.

He said residents have been short-changed over the ceding of 70,000 acres of land to the port project.

Addressing the press yesterday, Twaha accused the Lapsset board and National Land Commission (NLC) of failing to hold public participation forums with all stakeholders over the land taken over by the project.

“How the Lapsset authority came to acquire a single title deed of 70,000 acres is irregular and we need to ensure that no resident will be forcibly evicted in future from their land to pave way for development projects,” he said.

“Unless we are given new terms we do not wish to engage with Lapsset,” he added.

However, Lapsset director general Silvester Kasuku allayed the governor’s fears that the authority acquired the land irregularly.

He said at least half of the 70,000 acres is in the sea, which is being dredged to set up berths. “NLC has ensured that the land on which the Lamu port sits was properly acquired with land owners in Kililana area, which is the main port area, being fully compensated,” he said.

Questions have also emerged over how compensation for the Amu Power project land in Kwasasi area will be carried out. Lapsset authority is set to lease the Kwasasi area land to the power project.

NLC has intimated that the Kwasasi area farmers will likely receive land for land compensation rather than the Sh800,000-per-acre valuation that has been fronted for the past two years.

Fishermen, whose trade will be affected by the project, also want Sh1.7 billion compensation instead of the skills and equipment proposed by Lapsset board and the Kenya Ports Authority. -KNA

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