millions to pave way for the road’s upgrade to bitumen standard.
Although not opposed to the project, the landowners are up in arms against the
Busia County Government for demolition of perimeter walls and felling
of trees without a clear compensation plan.
A section of landowners who spoke to Kenya News Agency on Thursday on
condition of anonymity said the project which is underway kicked off
without public participation as claimed by the county government.
“Can the responsible county government department come out and tell
us who among the landowners was invited for public participation?
“Our property has been destroyed and no one is talking about
compensation. We have made huge losses. All we are demanding for now
is for the compensation issue to be settled first for the construction
works to continue,” one of them stated.
Reacting to the landowners’ compensation demands, Busia County
Executive in charge of Roads and Transport Okwara Ekirapa said the
construction works will go on despite the protests.
He said those whose property has been affected had
encroached on the road reserve.
“Before the launch of the construction works we conducted public
participation in October 2020 and all residents living along the road
were invited to give their views. The issue of compensation did not
arise then and all residents in attendance approved the commencement
of the construction works.”Ekirapa explained.
He said the county then sent engineers in consultation with the residents
to mark all structures earmarked for demolition along the road.
“We were there in December and all walls and buildings that were to be
destroyed were marked. Didn’t they see yellow markings on their walls?
This is March 2021 where have they been all this time?” he wondered.
The road links the busy Malaba-Bungoma highway to the
road that connects Amagoro town to Angurai. Part of the project includes
the tarmacking of a short road stretch connecting Bungoma-Malaba highway
to Amagoro primary school.
The project is part of the investment the county government has rolled
out to spruce up development in the newly created Malaba municipality.
Malaba became Busia’s second municipality under the Urban Areas and
Cities Act, 2011 on April 29, 2020. The elevation of the border town to a municipality
is expected to draw in resources from the county and national governments as well as
from other development partners.
Already the municipality is set to receive Sh100 million for
development from the World Bank.
by Melechezedeck Ejakait/Mark Anyang’