The riddle that is the Kachok dumpsite as millions spent in futility

The new look of the hidden Kachok dumpsite in Kisumu. [Denish Ochieng/Standard]

Millions of taxpayers’ money could have been spent in vain by Kisumu County in an unsuccessful attempt to relocate the infamous Kachok dumpsite.

Since the inception of devolution in 2013, the dumpsite has gobbled up millions of shillings as past and current regimes made attempts to relocate it.

Its relocation was part of Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s campaign agenda.

Last year, the county government flattened part of the dumpsite and relocated part of the heap of garbage to a quarry.

However, fresh controversy is brewing after it emerged that garbage was growing at the site again.

The county government is yet to find an alternative place to dump the more than 400 tonnes of waste produced in Kisumu and its environs daily, with residents now claiming the dumpsite is back.

When The Standard visited the site, several street boys were busy scavenging for metal from a heap of garbage that had just been dumped by a truck. The street boys said it was the third trip the truck had made.

“We were worried when the county government started relocating the dumpsite but we are glad because they are yet to find an alternative site to relocate it,” said a street boy.

Fresh garbage

City manager Doris Ombara on Tuesday said the county government was doing its best to manage the fresh heaps of garbage at the site.

“We are in the process of implementing our waste management strategy,” said Ms Ombara.

The return of garbage at the dumpsite is set to provide Nyong’o with a fresh headache, given that its relocation had been one of the major activities his administration embarked on last year.

Residents have also raised concern over the pungent smell emanating from the dumpsite.

“We are wondering what is happening because garbage is still being dumped at the site,” said William Otiato, a resident of Polyview.

Since 2013, the dumpsite has been receiving allocations of about Sh10 million each financial year for its partial decommissioning, but still the heaps of garbage have continued to grow.

In the last two years, allocations increased significantly with the county government saying that it needs Sh400 million to eradicate the dumpsite.

This, even as the French government, under the Kisumu Urban Project, also dedicated funds to relocate the dumpsite.

The fate of a Sh27 million parcel of land that was purchased by the former regime to help in the relocation of the dumpsite also remains unclear after the county government opted for an alternative parcel.

Fence and garden

In 2016, an attempt to construct a Sh6 million perimeter wall around the dumpsite stalled halfway, with the current regime constructing a new fence and garden after removing part of the dumpsite.

Tough questions also await the county government after it emerged that the parcel it has spent millions on may belong to private developers.

Two brothers - Kishar Daylji and Nilesh Dayalgi - are claiming ownership of the land in a suit that has dragged for nine years in court.

The county government could lose the land and the millions it has used in removing the thousands of tonnes of garbage and establishment of a recreational park in part of the land, located next to Nairobi road.

According to court documents seen by The Standard, proceedings in the case stalled in 2014 and only restarted last year, with lawyers representing the brothers claiming that the file had been missing.

The case is coming up for hearing on January 28.