Machakos County overcomes hurdles in construction of Sh1.5trn city

Construction of the Machakos county Governor’s office Dr. Alfred Mutua underway on Machakos People’s park road in Machakos County on January 16, 2019. [John Muia, Standard]

Dressed in safety gears, workers from a company that won some of the tenders for construction of the city were on the site that sits on 4,000 acres land.

The contractor is putting up a Sh100 million convention centre next to the People’s Park that is already in operation.

It is also in this area that Governor Alfred Mutua’s government is constructing offices and the governor’s official residence. Stepal Builders Company that won the tender to construct the residence is already on the ground.

“The existing town is bursting and there is no space to expand it because it was not planned from the beginning. The master plan for Machakos City is well planned and we are going to stick to it,” said the governor.

The project launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 delayed due to two court cases that have all been settled.

In the first case, former Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama moved to court on grounds the project was being undertaken on national government land as opposed to the county government.

The county set aside 4,000 acres of land for the project but Muthama claimed that 1,420 acres belonging to the Veterinary Department was excised without consultation from the national government.

However, the county government argued that it had been allocated the land by the National Land Commission (NLC) for investment purposes.

The second case involved the election petition against Governor Mutua’s victory in the 2017 and was concluded in December when the Supreme Court declared that he was duly elected.

The county government is engaged in negotiations with NLC as it continues working on the land that is not in dispute.

“We started issuing allotment letters last year to companies that want to set up factories in the proposed city. There are already 10 local investors who have developed interest in the new city,” he said.

However, two international investors who had been allocated land in the area moved to other countries because of the court case.

When complete, the town will have modern shopping malls, entertainment centre, hospital, schools, hotels, low and highrise commercial office buildings, ICT, homes and a sports complex.

Deputy Governor Francis Maliti said the county and national governments have created an enabling environment for business to thrive in the area.

Mr Maliti said Machakos city has been zoned to help control development in the area, adding that just like other cities in the world the county government will set a buffer zone one kilometre away for any likelihood of slums coming up.

“We will come up with a special way of managing development in the city by may be creating an autonomous body and a special economic zone,” he said.

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Deputy Governor Francis MalitiMachakos Senator Johnstone MuthamaMachakos People’s parkGovernor Alfred MutuaNLCNational Land Commission