Resettlement Action Plan to Cost Government Sh106 Million
Vendors whose source of livelihoods will be affected by the expansion of the highway will benefit from a resettlement action plan should the government implement a proposal submitted by Panafcon Limited.
The consultancy firm, Panafcon Limited was contracted by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA)to conduct a survey and give recommendation on resettling those who will be affected by this development. The consultants were to identify all persons who will be affected and the impacts of the proposed projects on their livelihoods. They were also to recommend measures to minimize resettlement costs as they safeguard livelihoods.
In the report released by the consultants in April this year, Panafcon determined that a total of 1, 322 people were going to be affected. According to the census conducted in the project area there were 344 vendors in the project area. These vendors have 238 spouses and 740 children who are dependents giving total number of 1,322.
The report also determined that although all this vendors were operating on road reserves, there was need to resettle them because the construction would interfere with their income generating projects.
Other than interfering with the vendors businesses, the project will have other impacts like demolition of structures like billboards, cutting down of mature trees/relocation of business structures and displacement of persons. However no cultural resources will be affected by the proposed project.
According to the report, the resettlement program is expected to cost the government at least Sh106 million. Key areas of resettlement are structures, loss of business profit (6 months), trees, relocating streetlights and signs (billboards, road signs and bustops). According to the valuation, these will cost approximately. 2.7, 34.8, 23, 14 and 2.4 million respectively. Other costs will be incurred in monitoring and evaluation, contingencies placed at 15% and Inflation at 20%.
KeNHA, a state corporation, charged with the responsibility for the management, development, rehabilitation and maintenance of national highways intends to carry out construction of additional lanes and rehabilitation of JKIA – Likoni – James Gichuru -Rironi Road (A104) and associated 4 Roads Projects.
The major renovations are set to begin in 2013 and to be completed within two years. The project is expected to ease the flow of traffic from Likoni Road to the James Gichuru Interchange. The project covers a stretch of 12 kilometres between St James Hospital (near the Airtel Headquarters) and James Gichuru (directly opposite Kabete Barracks) and building an elevated road or flyover. All the roundaboutswill also be replaced.
This is expected to be the next big road project after the completion of the Thika Superhighway, which has solved traffic crisis in these areas. Other improvements include installation of proper pedestrian pavements, service roads and a modern storm water drainage system. In addition, the design will also include a bus rapid transit lane to streamline the flow of public service vehicles on the highway.
KenHa already assured private investors that the government was going to rely only on road reserves and that no private land will be forcefully acquired. This reports has confirmed the same by reiterating that no private land will need to be acquired for the road expansion.
“There shall only be one main type of income restoration, namely Non-Land Based (arising from loss of business structures and businesses). There shall be no land acquisition. Majority of the vendors are aware that they are operating on a road reserve and may be requested to move away any time.” Reads the report.
Panafcon in their survey determined that majority of the business premises (to be demolished) are wooden stands which are only used by the vendors when selling their wares and carry away their merchandise every evening. Only a few of the vendors have Kiosks that are closed at night with the merchandise inside them.
In order to ensure that no direct displacement of person occurs the project will utilize the following strategies
• In the construction of additional lanes from JKIA-Likoni-James Gichuru-Uthiru, maximum use of the unoccupied spaces in between the existing dual carriageway will be done. Hence there will be no direct displacement of persons.
• The highway stretch from Uthiru-Rironiwill only be rehabilitated and no additional lanes will be placed.
• The space for dualling the Airport South Road is ample and currently unoccupied by any business activities hence there will be no acquisition.
• The area for the access road to the Proposed Barabara Plaza is virgin land hence no displacement.
• The access road to the Inland Container Depot has ample space allow for its rehabilitation without displacement of persons or businesses.
Eligibility and Grievances
The vendors who will be affected are situated along Westlands, Kangemi, Uthiru junction, 87 junction, Uthiru Corporation, Kinoo, Gitaru and Airport South Road Junction. The vendors sell mainly food stuff and clothing.
To avoid conflicts, the report clearly indicated the eligibility for those who fall under the affected persons list. According to the report one was only eligible if they fell under the following criteria;
• Those who have formal legal rights to land (including customary and traditional rights recognized under the laws of the country)
• Those who do not have formal legal rights to land at the time the census begins but have a claim to such land or assets—provided that such claims are recognized under the laws of the country or become recognized through a process identified in the resettlement plan,
• Those who have no recognizable legal right or claim to the land they are occupying.
The report provides for a formalized grievance redress mechanism to help reduce any complaints and grievances to enhance the acceptance of the proposed project. It proposes that efforts should be made to ensure people accept the project, rehabilitation and resettlement program through people’s participation and support. This they did by engaging the locals in negotiations through meetings with the chiefs of the specific areas.
The vendors were given a opportunity to express their opinions and their major concern was the loss of business. The vendors said they preferred to be resettled in the same areas and close to public areas so that they maintain their clientele base.
Benefits to the locals
According to the resettlement plan,KenHa should ensure that the local are involved and benefit economically from this project. Some of the ways in which this can be achieved is through
• Use of local labour during the construction phase
• Availability of adequate time to resettle before construction begins
• Provision of additional foot bridges for improved communication between the two sides of the dual carriageway.
• Provision of additional foot bridges to reduce accidents.
• Introduce regular road markings and cats eye on the highway to improve road safety especially since a large area of the proposed project gets very misty.
• Provision of adequate mitigation during construction to reduce dust emission
• Adequate care should be taken not to damage water pipes and other utilities.
• Provision of adequate access to various homesteads and businesses along the highway during construction (minimize obstruction).
• KeNHA to consider working with the City Council of Nairobi to assist informal traders with watering points and sanitary facilities.
Finally, the government has also been urged to engage the public to reduce unnecessary anxiety and antagonism by “resolving disputes through discussion, negotiation and compromise in a congenial, fair and impartial setting.”