After 18 years of a false start, the expansion of Malindi International Airport in Kilifi County is set to take off.
This is after the State agreed to meet the demands of locals to be affected by the project.
On Thursday, the National Development Implementation Technical Committee (NDITC) led by Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache said the government is set to Sh5 billion to compensate them.
“We have set Sh5 billion aside which will be used to acquire the land for the expansion,” said Mochache who led a team of other principal secretaries to inspect the airport.
Residents of nine villages of Majivuni JCC, Kalimani Poa, Majivuni, Ziwani, Bondeni, Furunzi A, Furunzi B, Majivuni B, and Mtangani are supposed to be compensated to relocate to pave way for the expansion.
At least 1,800 families will be affected by the project according to an evaluation conducted two years ago.
Malindi Airport is the second biggest airport at the Coast after Moi International Airport in Mombasa.
Through the Malindi Airport Residents Liaison Committee (MARLC), the residents demanded Sh5 billion as compensation.
“Compensation for loss of land or property should be done promptly and should be based on market rates,” said MARLC chairman Mr Harrison Kahoi recently.
He said the locals’ livelihoods had been affected since they cannot develop their land while in some instances rental houses are vacant which is a loss of income.
Gladys Kitembe, a resident in one of the affected areas said the government should carry out the compensation exercise as soon as possible as they had to put on hold development projects for far too long.
Mochache urged the residents to halt any development plans saying the government was about to commence the compensation process.
The airport manager Mohamed Karama said that all was set and he was only waiting for directions from the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) head office for the implementation to take place.
“We are waiting for the government to release the money and as soon as this is done, we will move to the next step of compensating the residents so that they can go start new lives elsewhere,” he said.
The committee also inspected other government projects in the area including the Sh2.5 billion Baricho bridge and road constructions.