Uhuru fulfils Sh1.7B cash promise to Lamu fishermen [Pulse Contributor's Opinion]

Fruits of presidential visit to Lamu

Lamu port is due to be launched later this year by President Uhuru Kenyatta. (thikatowntoday)

Just a while back, Lamu residents - mostly the fishermen - whose livelihoods were affected by the construction of the new Lamu port, were calling on the government and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to urgently compensate them following a successful court petition.

This, they demanded, to happen before the commissioning of the port.

The tune is now different after President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Port on Thursday May 20, 2021.

President Kenyatta this came with good news as the affected fishermen were set to be compensated by the end of June.

County Commissioner, Irungu Macharia affirmed that the fishermen will finally receive their compensation in May this year.

What delayed the fishermen's compensation according to Salim Bunu Lapsset Regional Manager, was the list.

The list submitted in court during the petition included 4734 fishermen. 1,500 new claimants had recently emerged, demanding to be included among the beneficiaries.

Lamu Fishermen Beach Management Unit Network Chairman Mohamed Somo, however, confirmed that they had spoken with different stakeholders, agreed and forwarded the final list of 4734 fishermen, as was submitted to court.

The only difference was, the list submitted in court only included the number of fishermen, but didn’t mention them. The new list was more specific with names, phone and ID numbers, to enable a smooth and transparent compensation process.

According to them, the 1500 new claimants had just emerged on hearing compensation is due, yet they were not present during the petitions years back when all this began. He was glad that the government had finally realized its promise to compensate them.

He added that the project cash payment of Sh1.76 billion was going to be shared on a 35-65% basis after they had previously disagreed to the proposed 80-20%.

The 35% will go to development projects such as buying new boats, ice boxes, refrigerator trucks, fishermen training among others while the 65% will be handed out as cash transfers. This would really play a major role in restoring the fishermen lives and livelihoods back on track.

Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha was also among those who welcomed the move by the national government to pay the affected fishermen, saying it was on time.

Mohamed Athman, Save Lamu chairman termed the announcement to compensate the over 4000 fishermen as a new dawn. He however urged the government to ensure all the remaining LAPSSET project grievances raised by the local community to be addressed as well.

The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.

Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.

Should you wish to submit an Article to Pulse, do so via contributors@pulse.co.ke.

Anne Mulehi (pictured) is an experienced Communications and Development expert with demonstrated history of working in the civil and social organization industry. She is currently the communications officer of KeNRA, a member of KOGwg, member of the Decoalonize Campaign, a global advocate alumni and an associate fellow of the Global Shapers Community, Nairobi Hub.

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