The contractor working on the Western by-pass resumed work at the Kibagare Karura slums after the Central Regional Commissioner, Mr. Wilfred Nyagwanga, constituted a committee to work on the resettlement of affected families.
The Commissioner who led the Presidential Delivery Unit and the Kiambu CDICC on a tour of projects directed that the concerned parties promptly convene a meeting to chart out a better way of resettling the affected families.
He said public participation was critical in ensuring that the concerns of the 32 families found settled where the proposed bypass project was being undertaken was addressed to facilitate amicable relocation and resumption of the road construction.
Construction of the road at the Kibagare slums located in Kiambaa Sub-county of Kiambu County, had briefly stalled for a while after the contractor was unable to progress with his work after he found settlements along the road reserves.
Preliminary reports indicated that the residents had refused to give the contractor access to continue with the project unless they were resettled elsewhere arguing that they had lived there for years.
The stalemate got the attention of Wanyanga who directed that a team be tasked to oversee the smooth removal of structures along the road corridor to pave way for the road around the interchange. The team surveyed the road and identified that the affected families were 32 and a church.
In line with instructions from the Regional Commissioner, area Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Mr. Peter Maina, held a public participation exercise at the plot.
Maina explained to the residents that it was in the interest of area development that the road construction is being done hence their relocation.
He also assured them that the public water point would be restored immediately they moved.
DCC Maina told the affected families that they should not fear of possible eviction and he assured them that the team would carry out the exercise with utmost courtesy and humanity during the transition.
Through public participation, they agreed that KeNHA and the contractor will flatten the area around the new public toilet to create space for relocation.
Once the space is ready, the affected families will be coordinated by the area Chief and their village elders to the created space by Friday this week.
However, the affected families expressed their fears that they were likely to be permanently evicted during the exercise as the project could consume most the road reserve but they were assured that those displaced will be relocated to an alternative site.
They also raised concern over the handing power lines after some were reportedly left bare but Engineer George Amingh of KENHA promised to take up the matter with KPLC .
During the tour, the team learnt that the families were to be relocated downstream towards the river. The area MCA Mr. Solomon Kinuthia explained that if a tipper would be availed, they would flatten some plot towards the area which is conspicuously riparian land.
The exercise comes after Nyagwanga stopped an earlier relocation of families to a riparian land, saying the government had outlawed settlement in such areas as they were prone to floods and landslides, during the rainy seasons and pose a risk to the residents.
During the public participation, Engineer Mugo Kimani, the County Executive (CEC) Member (CECM) for Roads assured the people that their welfare would be taken care of during the transition period.
By Lydia Shiloya