People in the way of progress: Lake Turkana Wind Power

Lake Turkana Wind Power is the largest private investment in Kenya, funded by Danish and international companies and investors, who now await a court decision on whether the land for the project was legally acquired. The 40-page report issued by DanWatch “A people in the way of progress” (2016) came out of the first of two parts of a journalistic investigation carried out in Kenya on 2–11 March 2016, when NGOs, politicians, experts in land rights and indigenous peoples rights and community members were interviewed by an international team of journalists. Desk research, including data collection through the Freedom of Information Act, field research and interviews with international experts on human and land rights was conducted from December 2015 to May 2016.

The key findings are:

  • Most communities in Sarima and the project catchment area (Gatab, Loiyangalani, Kargi and Marsabit) approve of the wind power project, but claimed there was no public consultations prior to land acquisition in 2007 for this project.
  • The resettled community Sarima is beset with prostitution, violence and alcoholism, because the project has not been able to fulfil expectations of jobs.
  • The wind power consortium does not recognise three of the four ethnic groups (Turkana, Samburu, Rendile and El Molo) as indigenous peoples. They are therefore not given rights as such in the project. All these ethnic groups are recognised as indigenous peoples by The African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights as well as experts interviewed by Danwatch.
  • Experts in IFC (International Finance Corporation) Standards, indigenous peoples rights and land rights in Kenya told Danwatch that the wind power project is in compliance with neither IFC Performance Standards nor international human rights standards.

Posted on 1 June 2016 in Pastoralism & Extractives