There is a ray of hope for owners of land earmarked for the establishment of the Sh21 billion wind power plant in Lamu after the project resettlement action plan (RAP) was launched on Wednesday.
The project by Baharini Wind Power, a consortium of Belgium firm Elicio Company in coordination with a Kenyan firm Kenwind Holdings Limited Company, is set to be established in Baharini village in Mpeketoni, Lamu West.
A total of 3,206 acres of land have been set aside for the establishment of the project which is expected to generate 90 megawatts of power upon completion.
But farmers in the area have on many occasion questioned the viability of the project owing to the fact that work is yet to start since the lands were first acquired back in 2011.
During the launch of the RAP, Baharini Wind Power Project Director Susan Nandwa disclosed that the entire exercise will be conducted by consultants from SGS Kenya, which is a world leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.
Ms Nandwa said the resettlement action plan will be conducted within four months after which other procedures will follow before compensation of the land owners displaced to pave way for the project takes place.
The wind power project director called on locals to come forward and give their views which will aid the investor on how to go about compensating the affected people.
She said their target is to ensure justice is done to all the genuine land owners affected by the project.
“We’re here today to launch the RAP. This is a crucial document drafted to help investors specify the procedures to be followed and what action will be taken to properly resettle and compensate affected persons. I want to assure residents here in Baharini that we will fully ensure that we follow what will be in the RAP as we deal with compensation. The project will then commence its activities in the area immediately RAP is conducted and compensation concluded. No one will be denied their rightful compensation. Provided you’re a genuine land claimant, we will ensure justice prevails,” said Ms Nandwa.
Ms Juliana Tek, who is the head consultant at SGS Kenya, said his organisation is prepared to undertake the RAP in Baharini.
“As an organisation, we will do the RAP after which a final draft will be made based on what we will have gathered on the ground within the four months period that we will be here. Our main target is to ensure people affected by the project are compensated based on the laws of Kenya,” said Ms Tek.
Speaking during the same event, Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama insisted on the need for the investor to ensure all the concerned parties are fully involved from the beginning to the end.
Mr Muthama said he supports the project provided that complaints raised by his constituents are fully addressed.
He said the Baharini Wind Power Project is of significant and strategic benefit to Lamu County and Kenya.
He termed it as the largest private investment in Lamu’s history.
“Let’s those in need of cash to be paid while others in need of land to be resettled elsewhere provided it’s a place of their choice,” said Mr Muthama.
The farmers’ spokesman Linus Gachoki said the decision by the investor to commence the RAP in their village has renewed their hopes of getting compensation.
“We feel the hurdle to compensation is finally out of our way. Let the RAP address all our concerns. Every one of us here needs cash for us to pave way for the project’s establishment. We also want the RAP to aid in ensuring only genuine land owners benefit from this project,” said Mr Gachoki.