Counties

Mombasa queries SGR land payout for fishers

Some of the fishermen from Mombasa county express their dissatisfaction with the Kenya Railways Corporation. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Some of the fishermen from Mombasa county express their dissatisfaction with the Kenya Railways Corporation. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

The Mombasa County government is up in arms over compensation of fishermen and farmers whose land was taken by the standard gauge railway project.

County executive committee member for Land, Planning and Housing Anthony Njaramba said since November 2014, only Sh212 million out of Sh980 million contained in the compensation package has been given to fishermen.

“We cannot say there is no compensation that took place. It did take place but it was done very badly,” he said in an interview.

Mr Njaramba said that four fishing landing sites — Kwa Kanji, Kwa Skembo, Kitanga Juu, Ngare — were destroyed by the Sh327 billion project robing 1,700 fishermen and 500 farmers of a livelihood.

“Only 100 farmers have since been compensated each receiving between Sh5,000 and Sh200,000 despite losing houses, crops and livelihood,” he said.

Mr Njaramba said the farmers were forced to settle in slums such as Mburukenge, Kalahari, Bangladesh, Kaa Chonjo and Soweto, among others, where they could find cheap housing. He said the compensation of the Sh980 million to fishermen had five components that included cash payment of Sh450 million, training, building of cold storage facilities, finding alternative landing sites and purchase of a deep sea fishing vessel for them.

“None of these has been achieved and when we enquire, Kenya Railways does not give us straight answers.

“Today we are told the process is ongoing and tomorrow they tell us that funds have not been released from the Treasury and so on,” he said.

Mr Njaramba said corruption could be playing part in the whole process because “some fictitious beneficiaries were paid, why not these genuine ones?”

He said the county would pursue the matter to a logical conclusion and urged Kenya Railways and the Ministry of Transport to “keep their side of the bargain”.

The story is different in the Kwale County where the railway project passed through with reports saying that squatters had been compensated after their land was acquired by the project.