Land row clouds prospects of KenGen's 400MW wind farm

Mr Albert Mugo, KenGen managing director. PHOTO | FILE
Mr Albert Mugo, KenGen managing director. PHOTO | FILE 

The fate of KenGen's #ticker:KEGN Sh6.9 billion wind farm hangs in the balance after a court rejected an application by embattled landowners to lift an order halting demarcation of land meant for the project.

Meru Judge Ann Mbugua declined to lift orders issued by the same court when Meru governor Peter Munya filed a petition to halt division of the prime 18,700-acre piece of land, further deepening the row between property owners and the county boss.

Through lawyers Kaume Mukira and Rodgers Rutugua, 9,000 landowners from Tigania East Sub County had asked the court to quash Mr Munya's injunction.

“It is very unfair to stop the demarcation process of a piece of land where residents had already settled with schools, the chief, police station and a dispensary...The governor alleges that the parcel is trust land yet there are genuine owners,” Mr Kaume argued on Thursday.

The national government had set aside Sh6 million towards a demarcation process that was set to begin early this month

KenGen has however suspended construction of the power plant due to the land row.

“As you see in the papers, we await land adjudication so that we can deal with the bona-fide land owners,” the power generator's MD Albert Mugo had said earlier.

The first phase of the 400-megawatt project was scheduled to be completed by December 2017.

Force shift

Area MP Mpuru Aburi expressed fears that the prolonged dispute would force KenGen to shift the project to another area.

“We have been provided with adequate lands officers, vehicles and other requirements needed but Governor Munya is still opposing the move...The national government should intervene and save the situation for the sake of the genuine land owners,” Mr Aburi said.

The area chosen to set up the wind farm is located near Isiolo International Airport, and is also seen as an avenue for the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project.

The case will be mentioned on May 9.