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Fafi residents demonstrate, wants KDRDIP projects suspended

A section of Fafi residents today held a peaceful demonstration outside the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impact Project (KDRDIP) offices in Garissa demanding that all projects under the World Bank sponsored programme suspended with immediate effect.

The placard waving demonstrators said that their efforts to seek audience with the Garissa officials have not yielded any fruits and now wants the Nairobi office to intervene.

Top on the list of issues they demanded be resolved before the projects resume include the suspension of all community mobilizers and community facilitators whom they accuse of working in cohorts with the Garissa office to defraud the community.

They also want contract of the officials of the Garissa KDRDIP office whose contract expires at the end of this month not to be renewed and be replaced by non-locals to avoid clan inclination and favourism that is currently being witnessed.

Addressing the press outside the KDRDIP offices after presenting the petition to the office of the Garissa County Commissioner the demonstrators led by Issa Dubat said that the project had lost its original mandate of addressing the needs of the community following forced displacement by refugees.

“As the host/local communities we are perturbed that the leadership at KDRDIP Garissa office lacks transparency and utmost good faith,” Dubat said.

“We are sincerely disturbed by the decision by KDRDIP to retain employees that have a lot of question marks surrounding their employment. Most of them are facing disciplinary proceedings,” he added.

On his part, Osman Omar accused KDRDIP for repeatedly refusing to attend to the grievances made by the local community saying that they have gone about their business unilaterally, without any acknowledgement of the inputs or perspectives put forward by the locals.

“Inadequate lack of public participation in prioritization of projects is a big concern to us as a community. Regrettably the local communities are not even aware of the projects being done in their name,” Omar said adding that “lack of public involvement is a major breach of the trust that is supposed to exist between the community and KDRDIP”.

“This is undoubtedly a flagrant exhibition of utter disrespect to a community whom the entire implementation of said projects is cantered upon,” he said.

On his part Abdi Sheikh said misplaced priorities in terms of projects allocations was among their biggest concerns.

“A good example is the fencing of Alinjugur Primary school that one wonders what the need for undertaking the same initiative was all about,” he added.

Contacted for comment, a senior official with KDRDIP who requested for anonymity termed most of the allegations especially on removal of social mobilizers and community facilitators as politically instigated.

“How does a community claim that the social mobilizers and community facilitators whom they themselves recommended turn around and claim that they are corrupt. There is more than meets the eye,” he said.

“The Kenya government and the World Bank agreed and the same was communicated to the community that the two groups should be retained because of institutional memory and also ensure that there is a seamless flow from one project to another,” he added.

He said that the projects in Turkana, Dadaab and Wajir south are going smoothly because the politicians in the three areas support the project unlike in Modogashe and Fafi where there have been protracted wrangles that will delay the projects.

The official said that so far, the projects in the two areas have stalled and if the issues are not resolved the communities in the area will ‘suffer’.

The project that was to lapse at the end of this month has been extended to December to allow for the utilization of the remaining funds.

Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (KDRDIP) is a National Government initiative, supported by the World Bank to improve lives of the refugee-hosting communities in the northern Kenya, including Turkana, Wajir and Garissa Counties.

By Jacob Songok

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