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Counties

Residents petition county govt over Sh15bn Kengen wind farm

Masinga dam.
Kengen's hydropower dam in Masinga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

More than 180 residents of Tigania East and Tigania West in Meru have petitioned the county assembly over a planned Sh15 billion KenGen #ticker:KEGN wind farm.

The residents have complained of illegal adjudication and evictions from their farms.

An area covering seven villages has been earmarked for the wind power project whose construction has been delayed by the adjudication process.

Presenting the petition, Athwana Member of County Assembly (MCA) and Majority Leader Victor Karithi said there was need to probe the alleged injustices against land owners.

“The undersigned residents of Kandeben, Kaliiu, Libiita, Mautu, Mwanika, Mweronkoro and Riinu want the assembly to look into the exercise which has deprived them of their land.

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"They state that the land demarcation and adjudication is unjust and illegal. There is need for an audit to know the real land owners and flash out the land grabbers,” Mr Karithi said.

The residents claim in their petition that land grabbers armed with assorted weapons were ferried to the area to forcefully evict genuine land owners.

“The land grabbers have been harassing, issuing death threats and other forms of intimidation to the petitioners and land owners.

"The assailants have vowed to kick out the genuine land owners and work in collaboration with land officers to have the land demarcated in their names,” the petition reads.

The petitioners say they live in fear of being attacked having been deprived of their constitutional rights.

Ms Charity Nkatha, a resident said she started farming in the area in 1994 but was flushed out of the land this year.

“When we gave our IDs to the officers overseeing the adjudication process, they kicked us out because we are from Tigania West. The administrators have refused to hear our cries even after we presented a list of 82 affected farmers to the Lands officer,” Ms Nkatha said.

Gang

Mr Leonard Muriungi, a retired chief, said he was evicted from his land by a gang of 15 people.

“People were ferried in lorries to take over our land. There are cases of land overlapping. The process should be nullified and fresh adjudication done,” he said.

The petitioners now want the county assembly to urgently probe the claims and engage the national government to cease harassment and eviction of land owners.

They also want the adjudication register availed for scrutiny in nearby officers saying there are various cases of manipulation and interference by rogue surveyors.

The 183 residents also want land adjudication officers working in the area investigated.

KenGen intends to set up an 80-megawatt wind farm on 18,700 acre land at Kandebene in Tigania East as it seeks to increase the proportion of renewable energy in its production mix.

Last year, the former Meru County administration moved to court to stop the adjudication of area saying the county government was not consulted in the initiation of the adjudication process against the law.

The national government had given Sh6 million to speed up the demarcation process of the disputed land.

Recently, Kengen MD Rebecca Miano said they had raised 130 million Euros (Sh15 billion) needed for the Meru wind farm.

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Correction

An earlier version of this story incorrectly linked KenGen to the land adjudication and eviction of residents. It has now been corrected

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