Senate clears Sh5bn Eldoret bypass despite payout row

Wednesday March 18 2020
TOWN

An aerial view of Eldoret town on March 21, 2018. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ONYANGO K’ONYANGO

The Senate’s Transport Committee has given the Sh5 billion Eldoret bypass a clean bill of health despite a petition by residents to have the road project suspended over compensation delays.

The residents had in 2018 petitioned the Senate to halt construction of the bypass until all the affected land owners receive their cash.

They also wanted the Senate to compel the National Land Commission (NLC) to provide the original award letters in respect of all the affected land owners for the purpose of authentication after alleging the process had been infiltrated.

When the Senate committee led by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi toured the region in 2018, it threatened to suspend implementation of the project over the land compensation row.

"It is unfortunate to learn that Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) has okayed implementation of this project, which is currently four per cent complete, yet we have so many land owners who are yet to be compensated," said Senator Wamatangi then.

However, according to the report on the project tabled on the floor of the House, the senators said that the project is of beneficial to the region, hence should not be stopped.

“On the question of halting the project, a majority of the petitioners and members of the public were in agreement that the project is a good one and will help the area.

''After negotiations, we were persuaded that there can be an amicable arrangement hence the project can continue but after payments have been made,” reads the report.

The senators further recommended that in future, when government wants to displace people to give way to a project, contractors should not be paid before compensation of the affected landowners is done.