Eldoret residents await hefty pay for ceding land for bypass work

The Eldoret Southern Bypass will be undertaken by China Wu Yi.
The Eldoret Southern Bypass will be undertaken by China Wu Yi.
The National Land Commission (NLC) has begun issuing compensation letters to individuals whose land will be acquired for construction of Eldoret Southern Bypass, in a move aimed to reassure landlords who accuse the State of forcibly acquiring their land without paying for it.

According to the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha), NLC will in the next two weeks undertake “adequate consultations” to finalise compensation matters with all the affected landlords.

“This will pave the way for compensation of residents whose land will be affected by the project,” Kenha assistant director of communication Charles Njogu said. “Currently, a design review and placement of beacons on the proposed road are being undertaken.”

The 35km road, which is jointly funded by Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfDB), will be undertaken by China Wu Yi under the supervision of Kenha.

The bypass will run from the Eldoret-Nairobi highway through Eldoret International Airport to the Eldoret-Malaba highway. The road is expected to decongest Eldoret while opening the North Rift region for more business.

Although Eldoret residents have welcomed the project, many of the affected landowners are aggrieved by Kenha’s decision to commence the project without discussing land acquisition matters with the owners.

READ: High land prices threaten to stall major road projects

On Tuesday, a group of angry Kapsaret residents held a demonstration to protest against the planting of beacons on their land – vowing not to allow work to proceed until they are compensated.

“Contractors came to our homes and borrowed some poles and planted beacons on our private land. Some have been planted right outside our houses,” a resident of Kapsaret told reporters in Eldoret on Tuesday.

Land compensation has been a hot issue for the government as landowners naturally ask for hefty payments for any forceful acquisition of their land. This coupled with the fact that land prices are already high in most towns makes it difficult for the government to implement its development plans.

Infrastructure PS John Mosonik is on record as having said that the cost of buying land is almost equal to the land of building roads especially in Nairobi and Mombasa.

Land prices across the country have been rising by incredible rates over the past decade – a situation that has undermined the government’s key infrastructure development initiations.

Proposals of mega projects usually attract high numbers of speculators who acquire and hoard land with the hope of selling it to the government at a high profit.

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