The County Government of Kisumu has declared that it will not retract on the ongoing plans to construct a 23-acre market complex for local traders in the city.
City Manager, Doris Ombara, made the announcement on Thursday after she accused a section of local politicians of inciting residents to sabotage the implementation of development project in the County.
Ombara claimed that the unnamed persons, for their selfish political mileage, were bent on impeding Governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o’s pre-election pact with the residents.
The Manager was reacting to the Wednesday incident when Jua kali Artisans held demonstrations at the proposed site, protesting that they were being evicted from their land.
The disputed piece of land is part of the parcels recently recovered during evictions of those who had encroached on Kenya Railways land and was donated to the County through an agreement with the National Government.
Ombara was, however, resolute that under no circumstance was the County Government going to dither in the construction of the business park that is expected to accommodate 10, 000 traders complete with a range of social amenities and utilities.
“The project has to go on, we have to develop a secure a place where our people who were uprooted during the Railways demolitions can trade and pick up their lives,” she stated.
The draft design indicates that the Sh500 million market to be named ‘Uhuru Business Park’ will besides housing 7,500 traders stalls and 2,500 Jua kali shades, have a bus park with demarcated areas for tuk tuks, matatus and boda boda riders.
However, the Jua kali Artisans through their Association Treasurer, David Odanga, are still crying foul and have accused the County of grabbing part of their land of which a title deed in their possession indicate their parcel should be 8.2 acres.
The City Manager in a quick rejoinder said that the governor has considered the several grievances raised by the artisans and allocated them 7.5 of the 23 acres originally handed to County by the national government but the Artisans maintain they are listening to none of this.
“The County must return the 0.7 acres that it has grabbed from us, we are also demanding that public participation be first carried and that all the would be beneficiaries be involved in the project’s implementation,” said Odanga
Area Member of County Assembly (MCA), David Arao, has on the other hand appealed for the Artisans’ goodwill for the project and assured them that none of their land will be lost.
Notably, the City Manager’s sabotage allegations come only a day after the Governor on Wednesday released a press statement alleging that two politicians were recruiting some youths to vandalize manhole covers and optic fibre infrastructure in the city.
“It is juvenile to imagine that the only way to engage in political contest is to destroy infrastructure that had been painstakingly built using public and private resources for common good,” read part of the statement.
Nyong’o bitterly condemned the activities of these suspects whom he did not name but divulged that he had shared the same information with the security apparatus whom he hoped would act accordingly.
By Milton Onyango