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Article

19 Mar 2020

Author:
Duncan Gumba & Guyo Turi, Insitute for Security Studies (So. Africa)

Kenya: Lawsuit by locals against Lake Turkana Wind Power over land allocation & community participation slowing down project

"Kenya’s ambitious wind turbines battle community land crosswinds "

The tussle in Kenya’s high court between Marsabit County residents and the government over the land used for Africa’s biggest wind farm continues to threaten stability in the area. The project, which the government regards as its ambition for clean and renewable energy and a symbol of its Vision 2030, was inaugurated by President Uhuru Kenyatta in July 2019. It comprises 365 wind turbine generators, each with a capacity of 850 kW. The total wind farm capacity is 310 MW. Five years before the farm’s inauguration, the affected communities sued the government for irregular allocation of 150 000 acres of community land in the Sarima area of Loiyangalani District. The land was allocated to Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited for the generation of wind-powered electricity...

The land issue is accompanied by other grievances related to the project, such as increasing crime and reportedly unfulfilled promises to the communities...The law suit by the local communities followed two years later over lack of community participation in the land allocation process as required by the Community Land Act...

In the case of the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, residents told ISS Today that whereas the entire concession area was 150 000 acres, the project occupied only about 40 000 acres. They alleged that the company was in possession of two separate title deeds for the 40 000 and 110 000 acres. They wondered why the company held the large unused tracts of land, restricting local communities from crucial access that would allow them to sustain their livelihoods. A local elder, Abdullahi Buroya, told ISS Today: ‘The allocation of large unutilised land to [Lake Turkana Wind Power Limited] can only be explained as going beyond greed and abuse.’