Pave the Way for Mwache Dam
Fulugani Village is one of 26 villages in Kwale's Kasemeni Ward that will be affected by the Mwache Dam Construction, a 14.8 billion project that will supply both Kwale and Mombasa Counties with water.
Residents said at an IFA community screening they were very concerned about whether to agree to the upcoming Mwache Dam Project. They wanted to know the benefits and losses associated with the project, the amounts of compensation they should expect, and where they could expect to move to when they were displaced from their ancestral land. There was no clarity about the process and phases of the dam construction.
The IFA Mombasa Team had conducted a community film screening and discussion in Fulugani village, Kwale County, Kinango Constituency, and realized that it had been identified by the Kwale County government as one of the 25 other villages in Kasemeni Ward to be affected by the Mwache Dam Construction.
The ksh 14.8 billion Mwache Dam Construction of the dam will begin now in October 2018 and is set to be complete in four to five years. It will require 1,600 acres of land, resulting in the displacement of about 4,250 persons whose assets and livelihoods will be affected.
IFA revisited the location and conducted a follow up film screening and discussion in Fulugani Primary School on 19th May 2018. This was attended by the Fulugani village residents at large and they spoke of their concerns and fears over the project.
The other key concerns highlighted during the screening included:
- The Chief had suddenly notified them in April 2018 that there would be meetings over the upcoming Mwache Dam project and that the project would commence at any time.
- The on-going discussions of the Mwache Dam project appeared to have been approved by the Kwale County Governor without discussion with the affected communities and with no public participation.
- The County leaders showed no interest in protecting the rights of the local people; residents were trying to apply for Title Deeds, without success.
The IFA Mombasa Team encouraged the audience to mobilize the community by forming a Community Action Team (CAT), which would also empower other villages in the area. They wanted to create an understanding of the issues and the struggle for justice.
The audience in the screening called for community meetings, which led to the Fulugani community nominating a local CAT. The CAT has encouraged and mobilised other affected villages, resulting in IFA holding further screenings and public participation.
Since then, the CAT has called for dialogue meetings between the community and local leaders at their village. However, invited county leaders failed to show up and instead sent representatives.
The CAT has since received threats from the area Chiefs and from some county leaders. The chairman of the committee has been summoned several times to the District Officer’s (DO) Office to explain the reasons behind the community meetings. Members of the CAT have been warned against holding any more meetings.
IFA continues to work closely with the community, and in October 2018 conducted further training of the CAT, to help organize them to protest and present a petition to the Governor of Kwale County.
Story by InformAction Mombasa Team