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Locals and surveyors differ over Lapsset corridor mapping in Garbatulla, Isiolo County

Tuesday May 5 2015

Former peace and conflict resolution chairman

Former peace and conflict resolution chairman Roba Galgalo viewing a beacon that was put up by surveyors mapping out the Lapsset project route from Garissa to Isiolo County. Residents of Garbatulla have protested over the ongoing mapping. PHOTO | VIVIAN JEBET | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

VIVIAN JEBET
By VIVIAN JEBET
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A conflict between locals and surveyors mapping out areas under the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor in Garbatulla, Isiolo County may stall the flagship project.

Leaders from Isiolo Monday vowed to stop survey works which kicked off two weeks ago citing lack of consultation.

There was a bitter exchange of words when a team of leaders touring the area found the survey team putting up beacons.

Rowdy residents had removed the beacons protesting against the mapping.

Speaking in Garbatulla Sub County during a fact finding mission on the Lapsset project, 15 county assembly representatives led by County Speaker Mohammed Tubi accused the National Government of failing to involve locals.

Nominated MCA Sadia Abdi said locals were not hired to clear the bushes because the National Government did not consult the county authorities.

Ms Sadia said the locals, majority of whom are pastoralists, had raised concerns that their land was being invaded.

RESOLUTIONS NOT HONOURED

Mr Tubi said resolutions passed in last month’s meeting with Lapsset Chairman Francis Muthaura in Isiolo have not been honoured.

“We agreed that locals would be given priority in jobs but survey is being done without our involvement.

“There is tension among locals who were eying the job opportunities,” Mr Tubi said.

County assembly majority leader, Adan Wako blamed the surveyors of encroaching the region without informing county officials.

He argued that the area which has already been cleared in the survey works is part of community land.

Oldonyiro Ward representative David Lemantile said the county assembly is seeking to establish the socio-economic impact of the project before it progresses in the area.

Mr Lemantile who is also the County Assembly Deputy Speaker said his ward is among the biggest beneficiaries of the Lapsset project.

SURVEYING IN GARISSA COMPLETE

The surveyors are said to have finished surveying Garissa County.

The project is currently underway in Garbatulla Ward in Isiolo heading to Kinna before it passes through Burat and finally Oldonyiro Ward.

County assembly Speaker said there is need for a good relationship between the national and county governments for the success of the mega project.

“Our concerns must be addressed; we must voice our worries. This is our responsibility as leaders,” said Mr Tubi.

Garbatulla Sub-County Commissioner Jack Obuo said the government will protect the interests of the locals.

Isiolo County is set to have a resort city, abattoir, and airport besides the construction of the Isiolo-Moyale highway.