The construction of multibillion-shilling hydroelectric power dams in Elgeyo-Marakwet County is expected to begin after a standoff threatening to derail the project was resolved.
Political leaders and people residing in Kipsaiya and Kimwarer areas softened their stance and agreed to support the project on condition that landowners are adequately compensated.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said the government would follow the law when acquiring land for the Sh63 billion dams.
“No land will be taken without compensation. The Constitution has a provision of public participation,” the minister said during a consultative meeting in Kipsaiya.
Mr Wamalwa added that those who lose their land would be compensated fairly.
The dams, to be set up on rivers Arror and Kimwarer in Marakwet West and Keiyo South sub-counties respectively, will displace more than 800 families and are expected to irrigate more than 20,000 acres.
Governor Alex Tolgos admitted that there were underlying issues which were derailing the implementation of the project.
“Leaders have agreed to work together for the good of everybody. We will address emerging issues and ensure the project is implemented fast,” Mr Tolgos said.
He added that leaders and residents want fairness and that valuation of the land should be inclusive.
Kerio Valley Development Authority managing director David Kimosop said the two dams would unlock the huge potential of the region.
“We shall engage everybody to ensure the dams are a success. We will also hold meetings with the community and persuade opponents of the project to come on board,” Mr Kimosop said.
He added that the authority would ensure the construction of the dams is done in a transparent and accountable manner.
“Any person who surrenders his or her land will be resettled,” Mr Kimosop said.
Mr Wamalwa said the electricity generated would be connected to the national grid.
KVDA, in a joint venture with CMC di Ravena and Itenera, will implement the project expected to add 60MW of power to the national grid.
Other leaders at the Saturday meeting included Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, MPs Daniel Rono (Keiyo South), William Kisang (Marakwet West), David Kangogo (Marakwet East), Jane Kiptoo (Woman Representative), County Assembly Speaker Philemon Sabulei and County Commissioner Abdulahi Galgalo.