The High Court in Meru has declined to stop the Sh75 billion Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Marsabit County.
Justice Peter Njoroge of the Environment and Land Court on Wednesday rejected an application by Marsabit residents to stop the project that is expected to add 310 megawatts to the national grid.
Billed as the largest private investment in the country, the project is expected to reduce the cost of electricity by half.
The court also confined the project to 87,500 acres.
Mr Njoroge further directed the Marsabit County Assembly to form a panel to arbitrate the matter within 90 days and a report be presented to the court thereafter.
“The panel should see whether the parties will agree to settle the matter, failure to which the matter will proceed in court to full hearing of the suit,” Justice Njoroge said in his ruling.
The residents of Laisamis constituency had accused Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited of acquiring 150,000 acres of their ancestral land for the project without following due process.
Mohamud Itarakwa Kochale, Kochale Jomo Jale, Issa Jitegwe Gambare, David Tamasot Arakhole, William Lengoyiap and Sekotey Seye had filed the suit on behalf of the residents.
The residents enjoined the Attorney-General, the Chief Land Registrar and the National Land Commission in the suit.
The residents alleged that there was no public participation before the project was initiated in 2005.
But the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, represented by lawyers Mohammed Nyaoga and Emmanuel Wetang’ula, dismissed the claims that residents will not benefit.
The lawyers, in their submissions, noted that the community land in dispute is not inhabited currently.
“The wind power project started in the year 2005 and there was no secret. There was gazettement of the same and no rights had been taken away. The community has benefited immensely and will still benefit when the project is completed,” the lawyers said.