Kajiado land compensation row threatens SGR works
A land compensation standoff pitting the National Land Commission, Kenya Railways Corporation and land owners in Kajiado County has deepened, signalling a possible delay in completion of the second phase of the standard gauge railway (SGR).
The controversy took a new twist this week after some landowners in Oloolua accused the commission's valuers of including non-existent features in targeted plots to inflate the prices and fleece the public of hard-earned cash.
“My semi-permanent three-bedroom house has been changed into a bungalow with a swimming pool in compensation forms. These discrepancies are in turn causing delays in compensation yet many of us need the money to move our families,” said John Kimani, a resident of Oloolua.
The 120 kilometre Sh150 billion project is currently 77 per cent complete. NLC
chairperson Abigail Mbagaya said there are 1,093 parcels of land earmarked for compensation between Syokimau and Ngong, but it had been difficult to move the families without paying them.
Mrs Mbagaya said land acquisition for this section of the SGR has faced multiple challenges from valuation to authenticity of owners.
“The National Land Commission is entitled to help in land acquisition for government projects but compensation issues as stipulated in the Constitution have been a daunting task, especially in populous Kajiado North Sub-county. We urge land owners to be patient as we iron out the grey matters,’’ said Mrs Mbagaya.
Kenya Railways engineer in charge of infrastructure development Maxwell Mengich said he was still optimistic that project will be completed on time.
"If the land compensation issues are resolved with speed, the contractor has enough manpower and resources to complete this phase of the project as planned,’’ Mr Mengich said.
The protracted land compensation standoff has forced the Chinese contractors working on the project to skip the Ongata Rongai-ngong stretch of the railway line pending resolution of the issues.
The first section of the railway’s phase two cut across the Nairobi National Park to Ongata Rongai in Kajiado North where it came to a temporary halt in the populous Olekasasi, Limpa and Ololua estates as landowners battled authorities for compensation.
Construction work then moved to the Ngong tunnel, which took 23 months to complete.
The Kajiado North sub-county segment will host two railway stations at Kambi Moto and Embul Bul shopping centres.
Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje yesterday asked the government to speed up compensation and clear the way for the project to proceed.
Work on the Ngong-mai Mahiu, Suswa and Nachu segment of the railway is ongoing.
The section is the first of three segments that make the second phase of SGR construction, which is expected to terminate on Kenya’s border with Uganda at Malaba.
PROJECT SGR construction at Suswa..