Compensation dispute threatens to derail Sh6bn bypass project


National Lands Commission (NLC) Chair Muhammad Swazuri. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Complaints by residents over an unclear roadmap on compensation threaten to derail the construction of the Sh6 billion Eldoret Southern bypass.

A spot check by the Sunday Nation last week revealed that the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and the National Lands Commission (NLC) have already earmarked the areas to be covered by the 35 kilometre route, which is aimed at decongesting Eldoret Town.

However, residents who spoke to Sunday Nation expressed fears that they may lose a lot of investments should they be moved from their ancestral land without proper compensation structures.

“We have just been given the compensation forms to fill but we have not been told if we shall be compensated for our properties ,which stand on the land,” said Mr Stephen Kiplagat of Nandi Gaa area.

“The contractor has already erected beacons but they are not telling us when the money will be deposited in our bank accounts to make arrangements to relocate” said Mr Kiplagat, 39.

“We have already prepared our lands for planting this season but we are uncertain when the project will commence. We fear that it will start when we have already planted, thus we end up incurring losses,” said Ms Teresia Jemeli, another resident. Six homesteads in her family will be affected by the project, which will run from the Eldoret-Nakuru Highway at Cheplaskei to the Eldoret- Malaba Highway at Maili Tisa.

Another resident, Ms Rosebella Samoei, said she is expecting at least Sh10 million for her two acre piece.

“We want to be given at least six months after we are compensated so that we have ample time to look for land elsewhere and transfer our children to other schools,” said Ms Samoei who works at the nearby Nandi Gaa Primary School. Part of the school will also pave way for the project.

READ: Construction of Sh6bn bypass set to commence

Mr Eric Langat, a resident of Kapseret, said locals will not move out until they are fully compensated.

But NLC Chair Muhammad Swazuri assured residents that no one will lose their land without being compensated.

“We have deployed our team to the ground to establish the exact number of people who will be affected by the project and the modalities of payment. We expect to conclude the exercise soon,” Mr Swazuri told Sunday Nation on phone.

KeNHA has also assured residents that the project was still on course, saying it has partnered with NLC to fast-track compensation.

“This exercise will be concluded soon to pave way for the compensation process,” said KeNHA assistant director of corporate communications Charles Njogu.