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Kisumu to reclaim public land in county renewal programme

By Kepher Otieno | Jan 28th 2021 | 2 min read
By Kepher Otieno | January 28th 2021
A house belonging to senior National government official demolished in Kisumu on November 6, 2020 for failing to comply with court orders. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Commercial buildings and homes illegally built on public land in Kisumu will be flattened in a regeneration plan by the county government.

The move by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s administration comes as he targets to deliver at least 10,000 housing units by end of the year, as well as new markets and industrial parks.

At the same time, the county has identified seven estates in Kisumu for renewal in collaboration with the national government and the National Housing Corporation.

They include Makasembo, Arina, Kibuye, Lumumba, Ondiek, Argwings Kodhek and Milimani.

The county has embarked on reclaiming illegally allocated public land that was meant for industrial parks, markets and other parcels set aside for Kenya Maritime Authority for management of shipping paths.

Kisumu City Manager Abala Wanga said the county will intensify the crackdown to reclaim the land.

“Our aim is to restore parts of the land in the city and markets in Riat, Kanyamedha, Kanyakwar, Otonglo, Mamboleo, Manyatta, Obunga and Nyalenda slums, which were allegedly grabbed,” he said.

Wanga said 12 have been grabbed out of the 28 in the county.

These include a market space at Riat on which a multi-storey building stands. It is now marked for demolition.

“The grabbers also went to Nyalenda market and sold a plot for Sh160 million. We are demolishing that too, to resettle the traders,” said Wanga.

The county government has now suspended building approvals for all undeveloped plots allocated by the defunct municipal councils, including any wetlands.

Wanga said no developments will be done on the disputed plots as they embark on a clean-up to rid the city of land cartels.

According to a notice dated January 18, the suspension will be implemented in line with the County Government Act No 17 of 2012, Urban Areas and Cities Act No 13 of 2011 and the Environmental Management and Coordination Conservation and Management of Wetland Amendment Regulation 2017.

The programme also targets the sites of sewerage plants in Manyatta and Gudka estates.

Sewer lines

Kisumu Water and Sanitation Managing Director Thomas Odongo said some of the buildings were built on sewer lines that needed periodic repairs and maintenance.

“We have had problems when our officers can’t access some of the houses where the sewer lines pass,” he said.

Investors who fell prey to cartels and bought land are now at risk of losing millions of shillings, as roadside stalls on reserved public land have been marked for demolition.

“If you know that you have been given a notice for erecting a structure on a road reserve, industrial park, market or sewer line prepare for it to be brought down,” said Wanga.  

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