By Denson Mututo – Kna Kitui
Over 300 families who claim that they will be displaced to pave way for Coal Mining in Mui basin of Mwingi, Kitui County have petitioned the government to hasten the on-going compensation process for the affected people.
The families expressed concern that the land adjudication exercise carried out recently in the area was not transparent and they are now calling for a repeat of the exercise.
Speaking last week during a meeting with the Kenya Nuclear Energy Board [KNEB] and the Parliamentary Energy Committee members at Mathuki trading centre on the Mui basin, the families’ spokesman through a memorandum given to the committee said that they will not accept the compensation unless the land adjudication exercise is repeated.
Area Member of Parliament Mr, Gideon Mulyungi who addressed the meeting decried the poor public participation undertaken by the concerned authorities saying it was a major setback which was likely not to get the support from the locals
“It will be very difficult for the government to gain access to the land as landowners are yet to be convinced enough to give out their land” the MP told the visiting KNEB and parliamentary energy committee members.
He claimed that the county residents have not been told anything about the measures in place to fight environmental hazards that were most likely to result from coal mining.
Responding to the outcry, Gem Member of parliament Elisha Odhiambo who was leading the team of parliamentary energy committee members assured the affected families that their concerns will be addressed and that they will not be forced out of their land.
“Compensation and resettlement of affected families will be done smoothly to ensure no one is humiliated and the rights of the displaced people are not violated” said Odhiambo.
Parliament energy committee members present included Kajiado North MP Joseph Manje, Vincent Musyoka of Mwala constituency and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O) of Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board, Collins Juma.
The leaders first held a consultative meeting at Mwingi Town before proceeding to Mathuki trading centre to meet with the affected families.
While speaking at the consultative meeting the C.E.O of Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board cited numerous benefits of Coal as a Nuclear energy saying it will ensure safe, efficient and reliable nuclear technology for electricity generation.
He added that the mining of the coal will promote safe and secure application of nuclear technology for sustainable electricity generation and distribution in Kenya.
Mui basin block B of four blocks of the Coal deposit sites in Kitui county are thousands of families are set to be displaced.