Locals demand pay for land used to expand Kabunde airstrip

Monday April 15 2019

Homa Bay residents protest at the Kabunde

Homa Bay residents protest at the Kabunde airstrip on April 15, 2019 demanding payment for land acquired by Kenya Airports Authority for expansion. PHOTO | GEORGE ODIWOUR | NATION MEDIA GORUP 

GEORGE ODIWUOR
By GEORGE ODIWUOR
More by this Author

A flight from Nairobi to Kabunde airstrip in Homa Bay town was delayed for over an hour after locals held demonstrations on Monday.

The flight which was scheduled to land at the airstrip at 7.15am was delayed until 8.30am after locals protests delayed compensation for their land acquired to expand airport.

Angry residents accused Kenya Airports Authority for failure to pay 120 families who land was acquired for the 2017 project.

Carrying twigs and banners, both young and old marched at the airstrip’s terminal from 6am, and threatened to damage the airport’s property.

There was tension when the some villages intimidated passengers, mainly foreigners who wanted to travel to Nairobi.

“This is our land and you should not step or drive in it so go back or find another route to Nairobi. We will paralyse all activities at the airstrip until the day we will be compensated,” they shouted as they turned on passengers.

POLICE INTERVENTION

It took the intervention of airport workers to rescue travellers who we being roughed up by the locals.

Attempts by airport manager Wycliffe Kadoya to pacify the residents were futile. 

“You have the ability to travel to Nairobi now. Go tell your bosses there that we will not relent on our quest to get our rights,” locals told the manager.

Police officers from Homa Bay Police Station had to be called in to quell the tension.

A flight from Nairobi which landed on the airstrip took less than ten minutes before taking off as passengers hurriedly disembarked as other boarded amidst chaos.

Some travellers expressed their dissatisfaction with KAA for the inconvenience.

Mr Omburo Odanje, a businessman, urged KAA to address the compensation issue to enable flights land and take off from the airstrip smoothly.

“One hour means a lot to me. Being delayed here in Homa Bay means I lose a lot in Nairobi,” he said.