KenGen to Resettle Maasai Community in Olkaria





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Published on Sep 21, 2012

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) on Thursday said that it will spend USD1 million to resettle members of the maasai community living in the geothermal rich Olkaria in Naivasha.

The resettlement project is jointly funded by the power generating company and the World Bank.

One thousand people are expected to benefit from the resettlement exercise after months of differences between the pastoral community and the power generating company.

KenGen has acquired 1,700 acres of land to resettle the affected community.

Kengen Geothermal Development Manager Mr Godfrey Muchemi said the funds will be used in the resettlement and construction of social amenities.

"We have set aside USD1m for the project and we have already acquired land for the exercise and the community is ready for the exercise. The total number of people to be resettled is around 1,000 and we expect the exercise to be complete in six months," Muchemi said.

Muchemi said the work on the land was going on and the construction tender for the houses has already been finalized.

Muchemi was addressing the press in Olkaria after a tour of the facility by the company's shareholders.

Muchemi added that the community will benefit from a school, clinic, water and church that will be constructed in the new land where they will be resettled.

Muchemi said that the Olkaria power plant will help the country in fighting power challenges and make it cheaper and more available.

He added that the resettlement will pave more way for further exploration.

"We estimate Olkaria has a capacity of 1,200MW in terms of geothermal production and the resettlement will help us access more ground for exploration," he said.

KenGen is also seeking an expansion of the land it is licensed to operate from the present 204 square kilometers to a larger portion.

Maasai leaders welcomed the move to resettle them saying that issues they had raised had been addressed by KenGen.

Area leader Mr Maenga Kisotu said a research done in the area had indicated that the gas could affect them and their livestock.

He said that after visiting the land which is a nearby farm, they had agreed to relocate on condition that the power generating company could continue to support them.

"We wanted to get land near the power plant and we as community have agreed to move to pave way for more power generation so that our country can progress," Kisotu said.

Kisotu however challenged KenGen to consider allocating a small percentage of their revenue to the community.

Kisotu was seconded by Rantoine Ole Ngamasai, a community elder who said the community was now benefiting from KenGen.

"For years we have failed to benefit from KenGen but in the last few years we are seeing major changes and we are ready to move out of this land," he said.

Earlier on, the resettlement process had been delayed following a disagreement over land and compensation.


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