Kenya’s geothermal resources are located in the Rift Valley, with an estimated potential of between 7,000 and 10,000 MW. The Maasai community’s parcel of land in Olkaria about 120 kilometers northwest of Nairobi has thus been acquired for purposes of the Kenya Electricity Expansion Project so as to expand geothermal power generation. The development of the Olkaria IV power plant required the acquisition of land near the main steam production area for the plant, just outside the borders of the Hell’s Gate National Park. The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Energy which is responsible for the overall project coordination, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), which is the implementing agency for the Project’s first component, the subject of the community’s concerns; Kenya Power and Lighting Company Limited (KPLC) and Rural Electrification Authority (REA).
After KenGen acquired the land, the community was resettled elsewhere where they were built for houses, a school, a clinic, a social hall and water kiosks. Some community members have however been left out and have not been resettled or compensated and for those resettled, the resettlement land is leasehold compared to the acquired land which was freehold. The community is thus disgruntled and in urgent need of legal assistance to be able to negotiate with KenGen on the issues and issues such as land transfer and benefit sharing.
As the local communities are left with little choice with respect to seeking justice for full compensations during the process of communal land acquisition and coupled with weak awareness of their rights, the government and investors oftentimes get away with such unjust massive land acquisitions. Hakijamii in partnership with MPIDO thus intends to assist the community in the negotiation process so as to ensure they are aware of their rights and strike the best deal with KenGen.