Reps demand fresh talks on Lapsset land

Tuesday March 1 2016

Lamu County deputy Governor Eric Mugo (left) and JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof Mabel Imbuga during the signing of an MOU for a three-year partnership deal that is expected to improve the county's agricultural potential and food security. Mr Mugo  says National Land Commission reneged on Lapsset land payment.  PHOTO |  SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Lamu County deputy Governor Eric Mugo (left) and JKUAT Vice Chancellor Prof Mabel Imbuga during the signing of an MOU for a three-year partnership deal that is expected to improve the county's agricultural potential and food security in February 2014. Mr Mugo says National Land Commission reneged on Lapsset land payment. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By KALUME KAZUNGU
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Leaders have demanded fresh talks on the allocation of 70,000 acres of land to the Lamu Port South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project Authority.

Ward representatives said Lamu leaders, including Governor Issa Timamy and his deputy, Mr Eric Mugo, should stop fighting the National Land Commission over the matter and leave it to the assembly.

There has been a mixed reaction to the allocation of the land by NLC to Lapsset. 

Speaking to the Nation in Lamu Town Monday, MCAs Abbas Famau (Faza), James Komu (Hongwe), Paul Kimani (Mkunumbi) and Muthoni Marubu (Nominated) said the assembly was ready to discuss the issue.

Mr Famau and Mr Komu said there was a need for the assembly to be fully involved in the Lapsset matter rather than relying on an agreement signed by the defunct municipal council.

He said many conflicts emanating from the project were because the local authority had failed to involve the residents in the process.

Mr Abbas said the 70,000 acres were not paid for and that they belonged to locals using the land.

ALTERNATIVE SETTLEMENT

Mr Komu faulted the NLC for allocating the land to Lapsset, saying residents had developed their plots and it would be wrong to evict them without compensation and giving them an alternative settlement.

“I know the national government bought a few acres of land at Kililana and Mashuduani for the project. That is why only Sh1.3 billion was used to compensate loacals,” he said.

“We will not allow some people to make mistakes which would be blamed on us.”

Ms Marubu, a resident of Hindi Division, where the project is located, said leaders should not politicise the matter.

She accused Governor Timamy and Mr Mugo of opposing projects initiated by the national government.

She said the two leaders were scaring investors and did not have the interests of Lamu residents at heart.

Ms Marubu said many of those opposed to the allocation of the 70,000 acres did not know that most of the land was in the ocean.

“If Timamy and Mugo want to give squatters land, they should resettle them on the more than 350,000 acres given to the county government after their titles were revoked,” Ms Marubu said.