The Star (Nairobi)

11 January 2013

Kenya: Groups Clash Over Road Project in Mvita

There was chaos at Mwembe Tanganyika in Mvita constituency when two groups clashed over a road construction project in the area.

The project, which had stalled for seven years due to court battles, was on Tuesday inspected by area MP Najib Balala who slaughtered two goats to cleanse it of any bad omen.

Yesterday, a group of residents forced workers employed by Rollins Investment, the road contractor, to stop work citing a court order issued by Justice Richard Mwongo on January 9.

Mwongo issued a conservatory order restraining the contractor and Mvita CDF from going on with construction of the road until they appear in court.

Six residents on Wednesday sought to enforce the order claiming the road encroaches on their land. They include Mohamed Karama Abeid, Yusuf Karama Timini, Omar Abdalla Hassan, Mohamed Mbarak Ali, Twaha Mbarak Ali and Mbarak Taisir Mbarak.

However, those supporting the construction of the road claimed the order, served by court processor Charles Mutinda, was a mere piece of paper.

They claimed the land on which the cabro road was being constructed was grabbed. Mutinda said his duty was to serve Rollins Investments with the order and nothing more.

The two groups confronted each other with threats and counter threats issued. Workers were furious when some demonstrators begun removing the cabro.

"As a fundi, I think they are interfering with our work. They should not be undoing the work we have done because this is what we are paid for. We have not yet been paid and if they remove the cabros we won't be paid. This our livelihood," said David Ochieng, one of the workers.

Police had to come in to quell the rising tension and after two hours of confrontation and running battles, calm was restored and construction resumed.

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