A man in Nyamira County has moved to court seeking to stop the building of the Chepilat-Ikonge-Chabera road, citing encroachment without compensation and destruction of his property.
Mr Richard Ondari, in his court papers, has enjoined three agencies, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), Nyamira Lands Registry and the National Lands Commission (NLC), in his suit papers.
Also included in the suit is the Attorney-General.
Mr Ondari is petitioning the Court to halt any construction work to allow for further consultations between the agencies and the affected residents on how they will be compensated for losing their land.
He told Justice John Mutungi of the Land and Environment Court in Kisii that there has been wanton destruction of property that had to be stopped.
He said a number of trees have already been destroyed at his Mwongori Settlement Scheme Plot number 589 by the contractor without following a due process.
In his ruling, Justice Mutungi ordered authorities to suspend the work on the affected area until the suit is heard and determined.
“The defendants either by themselves, their agents or any other person acting under instructions, stand restrained from demolishing the applicant’s structures and uprooting of trees on all that parcel of land known as Mwongori Settlement Scheme 589 in the name of constructing the Chepilat-Ikonge-Chabera road as currently beaconed, pending hearing of the suit therein,” said the Judge in his ruling.
The court further invited any other party affected by the “actions of the respondents” to be enjoined in the litigation.
But in a joint rebuttal, the agencies said they had followed a “proper and due process in carrying out their work”.
They said NLC from time to time “does acquire land for the public benefit as set out in Article 10 of the Constitution and construction of a public road falls among them”.
They urged the applicant to await inquiries from the NLC which will be gazetted in due course to enable the interested parties raise any issues that would require to be addressed.
“The applicant has not shown that the due process supposed to be followed will [not] be followed,” argued the defendants.
The 45km road is among projects promised by the Jubilee administration and the President had pledged to complete it during his campaigns in the region.
It is currently under construction and was expected to be completed in December 2017 at a cost of Sh3.1 billion.
But its design and proposed path has elicited complaints from locals who argue they have neither been consulted nor compensated, yet the project has already began.
On Monday, more residents joined the fray saying the agencies are yet to handle compensation matters with them.
Ms Lilian Chemutai whose eight shops had been earmarked for demolition also threatened court action unless she is compensated.
She said she stands to lose more than Sh10 million if the shops are demolished.
She said the initial roadmap she had initially seen seems to have been changed without proper procedures being followed.
“I had been to Nyamira to check on the road map and truly there are big discrepancies from the original plan and that is why we want the government to tell us when there will be compensation for us,” she told Nation during a visit to the affected area.
Mr Christopher Moseti, Douglas Ondieki and Julius Kirui of Minnaret also cited massive losses as the contractor continued work.
Mr Kirui claimed that he lost up to Sh9 million after his mature trees were cut down and his house situated along the stretch demolished.
“People have lost property yet nobody has told us when compensation is due,” he told Nation.
On his part, Mr Moseti said he lost up to eight acres along the road alongside trees he had planted.
“We have sought audience with the contactor over this matter but in vain. How we wish that they tell us the way forward in this matter,” he said.
He said a culvert was also wrongly laid on his land without due consultation.
The three said they are planning to be enjoined with Mr Ondari in court to press charges against the contractor.