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Residents applaud Waiguru’s decision to hand over KEMRI tittle deed

Kirinyaga residents have applauded the decision by Kirinyaga governor, Anne  Waiguru to hand over the 100 acre land tittle deed to the Kenya Medical and Research Institute (KEMRI), ending the long tussle between the two institutions.

This has been disclosed by the area Jubilee Chairman, Muriithi Kang’ara after a lengthy meeting between the County Council of Elders and Governor Anne Waiguru.

After  the daylong meeting  on Thursday at  Waiguru’s Kutus town offices, Kang’ara came out in the company of the elders to brief the media on the development.

But the elders led by their Chairman Jeremiah Gateri however, left immediately in order not to break the prescribed social distancing by the Ministry of Health to combat the spread of the corona virus.

“I want to assure our people that Governor  Anne Waiguru has finally forwarded the 100 acres land tittle to KEMRI so that the construction of a modern level five hospital, a Research Centre and a herbal medicine manufacturing plant can start at the Wamumu site in Mwea West Sub-County,” the official said.

Kang’ara said an MOU dully signed by the governor as required was also forwarded to KEMRI though he did not disclose its contents nor was a copy of the forwarding letter availed to the media.

He said a task force has already been formed between the Ministry of Health, Kirinyaga County government and KEMRI which is planning on a ground breaking day at Wamumu.

“There is no problem now as the governor has already cleared the air concerning the issues of KEMRI and we have also called the headquarters to confirm that everything is fine,” he said.

Kang’ara urged KEMRI to hasten the implementation of the project now that the tittle deed issue has been resolved. “The ball is now in your court,” he told KEMRI.

There has been a push and pull between various stake holders over the Sh.15 billion project whose construction should have started way back in 2015.

Among such stake holders were the area MCAs who have been pushing for the release of the tittle deed to KEMRI leading to a bitter disagreement and differences with the governor.

On her part, the governor has been insisting that an MOU should be signed between KEMRI and her administration over how and to what extent the locals would benefit from the facility.

The governor was basing her argument on how the locals were shortchanged at the Thiba dam site yet it had been agreed that 70 per cent of the jobs would be the preserve of the area residents which never came to be.

A month ago, the Interior Principal Secretary, Dr. Karanja Kibicho visited the stalled project at Wamumu and expressed his disappointments over the standoff between the governor and KEMRI.

A Sh.50 million perimeter wall was put up a few years ago but the actual construction of the facility did not start after the new county administration came into office in 2017.

When complete, the facility will cater for patients from the large Mt Kenya region and to a large extent ease congestion at the Kenyatta National hospital.

Following this development, area residents are now optimistic that the construction works would commence immediately.

By  Irungu Mwangi

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