Land compensation row hits plan to revive Kenya Fluorspar
Displaced families see the delayed compensation as a scheme to defraud them of their land. The families were displaced from their Kimwarer Sugutek land over 50 years ago to pave way for Kenya Fluorspar to carry out mining activities.KFC suspended mining operation and sent workers home four years ago owing to a slump in global fluorspar prices.
Effort to revive the Kenya Fluorspar Company (KFC) based in Elgeyo Marakwet County has been hit by a fresh dispute over land compensation. More than 500 families displaced from their 9,070 acres on Thursday took issue with the State over the delayed compensation alleging it was a scheme to defraud them of their land.This comes hardly a fortnight after the first crop of the National Lands Commission (NLC) commissioners vacated office after expiry of their tenure.
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“The Prof Muhammad Swazuri-led NLC team left office on 17 February without resolving the compensation issue leaving us in darkness on which government department will handle the matter,” said Joseph Kandie, chairman of the Kimwarer Sugutek (Fluorspar) community.Whereas the land commisison had started the process to release Sh1 billion as compensation, the residents are demanding Sh9 billion after they were removed from their ancestral land.The families were displaced from their Kimwarer Sugutek land over 50 years ago to pave way for the KFC to carry out mining activities.A multi-agency team drawn from the Mining ministry, Office of the Attorney General, the NLC and the Lands ministry toured the area last year to fast-track the compensation process.“The displaced families have been subjected to socio-economic hardships and have been left in dilemma after the NLC commissioners term in office expired without resolving the matter,” said Micah Kigen, who has been in the forefront advocating for the rights of the families.He said the compensation row will disrupt the search for an investor to facilitate revival of the company. The KFC suspended mining operation and sent workers home four years ago owing to a slump in fluorspar prices in the world market.