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County accused of subverting the use of proposed KEMRI land

Local leaders are now accusing the Kirinyaga County government of an intention to subvert the use of the proposed 100 acres of land already set aside for the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)

The  Mwea Member of Parliament, Kavinga  Wathayu  told the Deputy governor, Peter Ndambiri to his face that the county government had schemed a plot to hive 70 acres of the land meant for the research facility.

“ Ndambiri, I want you to tell these people the truth, in our meeting in Nairobi and before the Interior CS, Dr. Fred Matiang’i you said the devolved administration would like to take over 70 acres of the land for building of low economy housing project,” Kavinga said

He said instead the county has been misleading the public that they want KEMRI to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which is already in place.

“We are not relenting the fight on this land and not a section of it will be removed for the 100 acres of land,” Kavinga said amid cheers from the members of the public.

The  MP said the idea of the KEMRI project started in 2010 but politics has slowed it down to the current status.

“I have seen the MOU made by the former governor, Joseph Ndathi  with the current governor Anne Waiguru calling for amendments when she took over the reins of the county.

The  governor has said we should sit together and sort out the issues, what are we sorting out?,” posed Kavinga.

The  MP said in Ndathi’s MOU, Mutithi primary school was to be modernised, Wamumu approved school improved and 74 per cent of the unskilled labour was to come from Mwea.

“Which other MOU has KEMRI refused to sing, keep politics of the project, we don’t want stories and we want the project,” he said.

“Bring that draft you claim to have, I will take it to KEMRI and bring it for you signed before the end of the week,” the furious Kavinga told Ndambiri.

When he stood to address the gathering at Riandira primary school in Mwea West sub county  on Sunday, the deputy governor conceded that the county government had indeed added some requirements, including one that the chairman of the research institutions must all the time be from Kirinyaga.

The deputy governor said the other requirement by Waiguru’s administration was that 80 percent of the casual labuorers will have to come from the county.

He said they were trying to avoid a situation like at the Thiba dam, where people have been flocking in the county offices complaining of discrimination at the project.

“This time we want to be sure that we have a written agreement stipulating the benefits our people will accrue from the project, “he added.

Ndambiri said Kirinyaga people have been disadvantaged in the past when it comes to projects, which must now be addressed

“Look at Kirinyaga University, we handed over our institution, very few students from the region are admitted in the facility, the same case with Ahiti Ndomba where recently we discovered the entire county had only one student graduating,” the deputy governor said.

He said the governor has taken the initiative to sort out the differences over the land and has even invited the Senate Committee on Health, who will be coming to the county soon.

“All I am asking is for Kirinyaga people and the leaders to exercise patience and give us time to solve the problem, I am assuring you that we are going to come out with a solution,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ndambiri said the National government in partnership with the county government is in the process of putting up a medical training centre at Kerugoya County hospital.

He said the Members of parliament from the county had agreed to give some money for the medical training centre, while the county government will providing land.

“Kerugoya KMTC will be put up under the phase one of the project, phase two will deal with the construction of additional training centres at Kimbimbi and Kianyaga hospitals,” he said.

Earlier, Kirinyaga elder Mureithi Kangara had offered to call the leaders together in a joint meeting to try and address the land dispute.

“I can bring leaders together so that they sort out the outstanding land tussle between the County government and KEMRI,” Kangara said.

The meeting was attended by among others the host MCA, Peter Jomo, Gathigiriri ward representative, Simon Waititu Kiragu, Mutithi MCA, John Baptista Kanga and Thiba counterpart, Pius Njogu Kathuri.

By  Irungu Mwangi

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