Residents of Karuma trading center in Kiryandongo district are threatening to demonstrate against the proposed construction of the 600 megawatt Karuma hydro-power project. 338 residents of Karuma who are to be displaced by the power project have given government a five day ultimatum to revise the terms of their compensation.
Residents of Karuma trading center in Kiryandongo district are threatening to demonstrate against the proposed construction of the 600 megawatts Karuma hydro-power project.
338 residents of Karuma who are to be displaced by the power project have given government a five day ultimatum to revise the terms of their compensation. The aggrieved residents say they will stage a series of demonstrations if the five days elapse without the ministry of energy clarifying on how they are to be compensated.
Richard Owachiu, the LC1 Chairperson of Awoo village, says the residents are bitter because the officials who are handling the compensation process are forcing them to accept payment for only crops yet they are going to lose other property like land and houses.
Owachiu explains that government had agreed to compensate residents of Awoo, Karuma, Nora, Akuridia and Bedmot villages for the property they are going to lose when they are evicted from the land to pave way for the construction of the dam. He says the residents got surprised when the officials from the ministry of energy came this week and started paying a flat rate of 750,000 shillings.
He says the officials told the locals that they were only compensating them for the crops that they will lose during the construction of the dam.
The local council official explains that the locals on Friday held a meeting where they resolved to reject the compensation and to give government five days to clarify whether they will be compensated for other property like land buildings as well.
Ben Mugenyi, the Chairperson of local councils and elders committee for the proposed Karuma Power Project, an association that champions the rights of the locals who are to be displaced, says that the locals had agreed with government to compensate them five million shillings each for the land.
Mugenyi also says they had agreed previously with government to be given a disturbance allowance of 30 percent of the total cost of compensation.
Alfred Kilama, a victim says that he does not know where he will take his family if he is to be evicted without compensation. Kilama says government should be considerate and compensate them with money that can enable them buy land elsewhere to settle.
But Bernard Ochola, an official from the ministry of energy who is overseeing the compensation, claims that his team is having difficulties in compensating the claimants because some of them own land but not the property on it.
Ochola also claims that a majority of the claimants are internally displaced people who settled on the land ten years back but are now claiming ownership.
He says the locals should abandon their plan of holding a demonstration and seek amicable solution.
Construction of the 600 megawatt Karuma hydro power station is due to commence this year.
karuma power project
karuma hydro power project
ministry of energy