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Kiambu families to be offered alternative settlement

The 14 families who were scheduled to be resettled on riparian land so as to pave way for the construction of the Western by-pass at Kibagare slums will now be moved to alternative site for their safety.

Leading the Central Regional Development Implementation Coordination Committee (RDICC) in a tour of projects in Kiambu County, the Chairman, Mr. Wilfred Nyagwanga, cautioned that settling the residents in the riparian land would be disastrous to the environment.

“We might think that we are solving a problem by resettling these people on that plot downstream, only for them to suffer more, in case of a landslide and we end up losing lives,” he said.

The families who are currently living in informal settlements along the proposed area where the Western by-pass is expected to traverse, had since been notified to relocate to pave way for the ongoing construction of the road.

He further directed that a Committee comprising of the area Chief, Members of the County Assembly (MCA), local representatives and those from the County Government be formed so as to map an alternative method of resettlement on safer grounds within the same area.

The meeting is expected to be convened immediately and come up with a plan to resettle the families within the upper part of the slums so as to allow the contractor to continue with his work.

It was agreed that a church at the proposed site for the resettlement would be demolished to settle the 14 families, arguing that the congregants could worship in other neighboring churches within the informal settlement.

When the team toured the slum to view the intended site for the resettlement, the Committee was shocked to learn that the site was too steep for habitation but the area MCA insisted that they required a tipper to level the ground so that the affected families could be relocated towards the river.

Some members of the team expressed fear that the site was not habitable and wanted the Committee to seek for an alternative resettlement site arguing that it was too dangerous.

Area County Commissioner, Mr. Wilson Wanyanga, cautioned that the number should remain as it was reported as the figure kept on changing from 31 to 20 and finally to 14 when the team arrived on the ground.

He said some people had the tendency of escalating the figures in such scenarios so as to allow outsiders to infiltrate and benefit during the relocation of such groups of people.

The Regional team also toured two other plots that are inhibiting the completion of the construction of the by-pass in Ruaka attracting litigations with alleged owners insisting on compensation before they gave.

The Western by-pass construction was contracted to China Road and Bridge Corporation (K) in October 2017 by the Government of Kenya through the implementing agency, the Director General Kenya National Highway Authority.

The works to be carried out originally consisted of the construction of dual carriageway with a length of 15.385 kilometers and approaximately17.31 kilometers service roads. It is funded by the China Exim Bank and the Government of Kenya.

The actual construction began on 15th March 2019 and is expected to be completed in 35 months after the period was scaled down from 39 months. The revised completion date is 31st December 2021 as the physical progress of the project now stands at 83.2 per cent to date.

The regional team also toured Gatundu water and sewerage and the Karimenu Dam water project. They expressed gratitude to the 2 contractors who are at an advanced stage of their projects. The Water and sewage is financed by the Republic of Kenya jointly with African Development Bank, through the Kenya Towns Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Program (KSTWWP).

It aims to provide sustainable access to water supply and sanitation services in urban and peri-urban areas in the satellite towns around Nairobi.

By Lydia Shiloya

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