14 February 2014

Kenya: Makueni Legislators Term Konza Technopolis "A Disappointment"

Photo: Business Daily.
An artist’s impression of the Malili Konza Technopolis, an ICT hub to be located 60km east of Nairobi.

Makueni legislators have termed the Konza Technolopolis in the county as a disappointment for having failed to kick off despite having been commissioned a year ago.

Led by former VP Kalonzo Musyoka, the leaders termed the delay by AG Githu Muigai to table the Konza Technopolis Development Authority (KOTDA) Bill before parliament as a way of delaying the capacity of the board to strengthen regulatory capacity and ability to source for funds.

"When former President Mwai Kibaki and I - as his VP - stood before this site last year, the people of this region expected to see tractors and works begin immediately. A year down the line it seems that someone is frustrating this project. We assure all Kenyans that this project will not fail and since it is in the vision 2030 document it will be continued by this or the the government in waiting where I sit," said Musyoka.

The former VP accused the Jubilee government of frustrating the Konza Project despite being a Vision 2030 project and instead backing the rival Machakos City and the Galana Irrigation Project, all of which are in the region.

Makueni governor Kivutha Kibwana termed the government's allocation of just Kshs 773 million as inadequate for a project of such magnitude and now wants President Uhuru Kenyatta to get involved and instruct those in charge to speed up the project's implementation.

"President Kenyatta needs to get the project rolling and until then, we will not respect the buffer zone as proposed and we will ask our people to continue earning a living on their kiosks and other non-permanent structures being sure no one will stop them," stated the governor.

He has also termed as baseless boundary issues as to whether Konza technopolis was in Machakos, Makueni or Kajiado County saying the constitution was clear that all boundaries would be according to the 1992 boundaries.

Responding to the criticism KOTDA chairman John Ngumi agreed that the process had taken too long saying the delay was due to compliance to legal obligations as the board was avoiding legal impediments once the project started.

"Kenyans have a right to be impatient; they must however remember that Konza is not being built for now but for the future. We agree it has taken too long but it was important we get it right," Ngumi said.

They were speaking while Konza city received a National Enviromental management Authority (NEMA) approval following a satisfactory Strategic Enviromental Assessment survey having worked through various requirements including: Zoning, management of solid and liquid waste and adherence of green standards.

"The development will however undergo individual impact assessment including each building being constructed in the technopolis," said NEMA director general Prof Geoffrey Wakhungu.

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