I did not reject KDF base plan, Lamu Governor Issa Timamy says

Friday March 4 2016

Lamu Governor Issa Timamy at a past event. He has denied that he rejected a plan to set up a Kenya Defence Forces base in Pandanguo, Lamu County. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Lamu Governor Issa Timamy has described as "propaganda" allegations that he refused to allocate land for a proposed Kenya Defence Forces base in Pandanguo.

In a press statement issued Friday, Mr Timamy said he did not turn down the KDF request for a 10-square-kilometre parcel of land for the base.

He also denied that he had failed to communicate the issue to leaders in the county as alleged earlier this week.

He said he responded positively to the request from the Defence Cabinet secretary for the land in July 2014 and forwarded the letter to all elected leaders in the county seeking their views.

“I want to dismiss the reports as propaganda by my detractors, who are out to politicise sensitive matters such as security for their own selfish interests.

“For almost two years, I have not received feedback on the matter (from leaders), neither have I been furnished with the exact location nor acreage of the land as per my request (to Defence ministry) so as to kick-start the application process. I don't see how I can deny an application that was never lodged,” said Mr Timamy.

He criticised leaders who claimed that he rejected the military base plan saying, “Lamu is not a kingdom where I can make a unilateral decision on such a weighty matter”.


He said he decided to involve stakeholders in the area as well as land institutions as there “are procedures to be followed".

“The County Executive is only one arm of the county government and does not have powers to issue or deny land through my statements alone.

“We must involve the People of Lamu, County Land Management Board, County Assembly, elected leaders and the National Land Commission. This is why I forwarded the CS, Ministry of Defence request to all relevant agencies before we formalise any approval,” he said.

Mr Timamy said his government is committed to improving security in the county.

Earlier this week, leaders from the region, including Senator Abu Chiaba, Lamu West MP Julius Ndegwa and Woman Representative Shakila Abdalla, criticised Mr Timamy for allegedly rejecting the plan to set up the KDF base in Pandanguo.

They accused the governor of failing to take into account the interests of the larger Lamu people.

The governor is alleged to have raised concerns that indigenous people, including the Boni and Sanye, live in the area and hiving off such a huge chunk means that some of them will be evicted from their ancestral homes.

Lamu is chronically unstable because it is infiltrated by fighters from across the border in Somalia who use Boni forest for cover.

The area is earmarked for investments worth billions of shillings, including a new port, oil pipelines and power stations, which will bring wealth and create jobs in the poor county.