Workers building Kenya-Somalia security wall protest over delayed pay

Nyandarua Senator Muriuki Karue (2nd left), Mandera Governor Ali Roba (3rd right) and other leaders at Border Point One in Mandera along the Kenya-Somalia border on September 11, 2015. Workers building the border security wall have threatened to down their tools saying they have not been paid since March. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

dailynation

 

The National Youth Service (NYS) team deployed to build a security wall along the Kenya-Somalia border in Mandera County is threatening to down tools over delayed pay.

The over 50 workers including machine operators, instructors, surveyors and designers say they have not been paid since March.

“We were taken to the Mandera military camp but we could not fit there because we are many plus we had the machines.

“After two days, we were moved to a public works compound where we were attacked by militants,” one of the workers who sought anonymity for fear of victimisation said.

He said the team was moved to the compound used by the Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU), a unit of the Administration Police, where they have been operating from.

“Our lives are at risk at the RDU camp because even the officers there say they will not secure us because they have not been paid as well,” said the NYS officer.

They said their efforts to reach their boss through the coordinator of the project Charles Wambugu have been futile.

NO SCHOOL FEES

“This situation has compromised the lives of our families. Our children are out of school due to lack of fees.

“We shall down our tools on Friday and start our journey back home if action is not taken,’ said another worker.

They said each worker had been promised Sh126, 000 at the start of the project in March 2015.

“We asked to be paid before leaving Nairobi but the NYS director general said he feared some of us would drop out if paid in advance. He promised to pay us immediately we arrived but that is yet to happen,” said one of the drivers.

WIRED MONEY THROUGH NYS

He said they have information that the Ministry of Interior had wired their money to the NYS and cannot understand why they have not been paid up to now.

The project, according to sources, is funded by various ministries and state departments.

The wall is meant to ward off Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militants.

The wall will stretch from Border Point One in Mandera to Kiunga in Lamu County.

“This was to be a six-month project but lack of payment is slowing it down. We doubt if the project will be realised at all,” said the driver.

An RDU officer said Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma had promised to deal with the matter when she visited Mandera in May.

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