Construction of Kenya-Ethiopia electricity transmission line stalls .

The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) is in the spotlight for the delayed completion of the Sh120B Kenya-Ethiopia electricity transmission line.

The Ethiopian government has petitioned the parliamentary committee on energy to intervene as they have completed their part of their bargain with the Kenyan counterpart delaying.

The bone of contention is failure by KETRACO to compensate tens of farmers in Maraigushu Naivasha who have been affected by the transmission line.

The parliament committee had ordered the National Land Commission (NLC) to conduct fresh evaluation on the affected parcels of land following a petition by the families.

This came as the farmers called on the CS for Energy to intervene over the delayed compensation and use of intimidation by the company.

According to the committee chairman David Gikaria, the first evaluation was done back in 2013 but KETRACO delayed the payment forcing the farmers to seek re-evaluation in 2018.

The Nakuru East Mp said that the committee made its recommendation in which they called for formation of a liaison committee and the re-evaluation process by NLC.

“We handed over our recommendation to the implementation committee in parliament and we are shocked that KETRACO which got the Sh8B compensation funds has not done its part,” he said.

Speaking in Naivasha, he noted that the delayed compensation had affected works on the project forcing their Ethiopia counterparts to complain.

“We were in Ethiopia last month and the Minister of Energy was complaining about failure by Kenya to complete its part of the project thus affecting planned evacuation of electricity,” he said.

On his part, Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja accused KETRACO of using unorthodox methods to take over the land from the peasant farmers.

He said that majority of those affected by the project had not been paid yet the company was in their farms erecting the power masts.

“Some of the farmers have been arrested while demanding their rightful dues and currently the prices of land in this area have changed and hence the need for revaluation,” he said.

One of the affected persons, Francis Wachira, told of their pain and agony as efforts to get their dues hit a snag every year.

He said that they fully supported the government project but years after their land was affected by the power line all they had received were threats.

This was echoed by another victim Mary Wanja who said that her father passed on while chasing his dues from NLC and the electricity company.

“Already half of our land has been affected by the power line but KETRACO has refused to hear our cries and hence the continued suffering,” she said.

A senior officer from KETRACO and who is not authorized to speak to the press noted that the Maraigushu area was the only part remaining along the Kenya-Ethiopia transmission line.

“We have received parliament’s recommendation for a reevaluation but this was not addressed in our budgetary allocation and hence the current impasse,” said the officer.