A Kenyan newspaper, The Daily Nation, reported last week that Kenyan police officers shot and killed a man who was protesting the construction of the controversial Bonyunyu Dam.
On January 9, the man, Jomo Nyanguti, had reportedly confronted police officers who were guarding surveyors mapping the dam site when he was shot. Police also arrested three people during the confrontation.
The murder of Mr. Nyanguti is just the latest in a string of escalating incidents related to the dam. In December, youths burned four houses in protests over the project; the houses reportedly belonged to supporters of the project.
Residents say the dam will displace thousands of people from their ancestral lands. Project planners, on the other hand, have claimed just two homesteads will be affected, and local politicians have been warned to keep quiet about the project. Residents are demanding public participation in the planning process, and say that the project planners have not yet discussed compensation for lost lands and livelihoods. Local politicians have likewise demanded the project be shelved until proper consultations undertaken.
The 35-meter high dam, planned for Kenya’s Gucha River, would be used primarily for water storage. It will cost an estimated 5.8 billion shillings, much of which has been raised from the Dutch government. The project is currently funded by ORIO of Netherlands. The dam is slated to begin construction in August of 2018.