The Yala swamp residents have accused Siaya county government of frustrating efforts to gazette the wetland into community land.
According to residents, the county government has been dragging its feet on the matter, despite an order by the National Lands Commission that it initiates process for the registration.
Led by the Yala swamp community chairman, Walter Otieno Nyangira, the residents wondered why it was taking the devolved government long to present an inventory of its community lands to the NLC while the rest of the 46 counties have complied.
Speaking at the Siaya lands offices where they had gone to present their grievances, the residents said the indifference of the county government officials was sending wrong signals that there could be mischief being planned to have the wetland handed over to individuals.
Nyangira called on the devolved government to hasten the process that will enable the community have a voice on the management of the wetland.
A resident, Gladys Adhiambo lamented that secret surveys were being undertaken in the swamp and called on Governor Cornel Rasanga and his officials to come clean over the matter.
“The county government must come clear over whether they are aware of the placement of beacons in the wetland by some surveyors and what the intention is,” she said.
A farmer, Meshack Were Oluoch expressed concern that the ongoing repair of a weir at the swamp would affect crops.
He lamented that though the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) recommended the weir to be of 5.3 metres, the ongoing repair works raises this by 1.8 metres, something that he said will affect the local community.
by Philip Onyango