Kirinyaga Mihiriga Kenda (nine clans), are seeking to be involved in matters on vacant public land in the area before any allocations are considered in order to safeguard the interests of the locals.We have a stake on the KEMRI land, clansmen
The clansmen cited the ongoing row over the 100 acres allocated to the Kenya Medical and Research Institute (KEMRI) in Mwea pitting the area county government and the local elected leaders.
They claimed had they been involved right from the onset, the current wrangles over the delayed issuance of the title deed to the Institute would not have arisen.
Led by their Chairman, Joseph Mugera, the clansmen maintained that just like Meru’s Njuri Ncheke Council of Elders, they have an important role to play on matters of public land in the area.
Mugera said while the clansmen were not opposed to the establishment of the proposed Referral and Teaching hospital by KEMRI on the 100 acre a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was required between the locals and the Institute on what benefits the residents would get.
The officials claimed the building of the Kirinyaga University in the county had not brought any benefits to the locals since there was no prior MOU in place.
“Having made such a big mistake not to have demanded for an MOU with the University as well the Animal Health and Industry Training Institute (AHITI) at Ndomba because our people have just remained spectators as outsiders get employed and engage in business with these two institutions as we watch,”Mugera claimed.
The Kirinyaga county government has persistently insisted there must be an MOU before it could hand over the title deed to enable KEMRI establish the Sh.15 billion projects.
The Deputy Governor, Peter Ndambiri said just like their views and sentiments expressed by the clansmen , KEMRI must agree first to put on paper the benefits the locals would reap from the mega project especially job opportunities.
He claimed the Thiba mega dam which has now stalled was to give 70 per cent of the jobs to the locals but this did not happen since there was no MOU.
“Our people must be given priorities on jobs that are created by mega projects which the National Government initiates in this county otherwise we would always end up losing both our land and the jobs, “he said.
The Mwea MP, Kabinga Wachira on the other hand wants the title deed released to KEMRI unconditionally and accused the county government of having a hidden agenda over the land.
“This project would have kicked off long ago and created the much needed jobs to our people had it not been for some undisclosed interests by certain individuals,” Wachira claimed.
He wondered why there was dilly dallying on the matter yet the former Governor Joseph Ndathi had already handed over the document in 2015 when a perimeter wall was constructed.
By Irungu Mwangi