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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Court suspends construction of dam in Mandera over land dispute

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A court has suspended the construction of the Bokolow Banyole dam in Mandera county pending the hearing and determination of a suit against it.

Seven Mandera residents claim that the land where the European Union-funded dam will be put up is disputed community land and a resolution should be found before works can proceed.

Kerugoya Judge E Cherono on Friday last week issued conservatory order barring Mandera county and Mandera Water and Sewerage Company from commencing construction of the proposed dam and supply works.

Justice Cherono directed the residents to serve all the parties and appear in court on February 24 for inter-parties hearing.

Through lawyer Bryan Khaemba, the residents argue that they have a collective right of ownership and occupation over the land in Barwaqo.

Khaemba says in the recent past, there have been heightened inter-clan conflicts over ownership, use and occupation of the Barwaqo area of Mandera.

As a result, Governor Ali Roba, county commander and other stakeholders have held meetings and engagements to find a lasting solution without success.

“Having failed to reach an amicable solution on the matter, on September 7, 2020, the County Commander issued a directive banning all new projects and new settlements in disputed areas, which includes Barwaqo area,” court documents read.

Khaemba said that even after the directive, the Mandera Water and Sewerage Company went ahead to commence construction of a Bokolow Banyoley dam within the disputed area of Barwaqo.

“The said project is being funded by the EU through the Water Fund and currently the contractor is on the site assembling machinery and materials in readiness for commencement of the construction,” Khaemba said.

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