Kenya: Ndhiwa Locals Reject Health Centre Project, Want Land for Grazing

A community in Ndhiwa, Homa Bay County has rejected a health centre being built in the area, claiming it will interfere with their agricultural activities.

North Kabuoch Ward community members say they do not want the medical facility being built on a piece of land where they graze their cattle.

The department of health in Homa Bay intends to set up Anyuongi Health Centre at a cost of Sh4.2 million on a piece of land shared by community members from Kawere and Karading' locations.

Its construction was scheduled to start this month.

NO BENEFIT

But some residents claim that the health centre will be of no benefit to them.

Kawere Konyango Karading Welfare Group chairman George Gogo and Secretary Tom Ogadi said the county government did not seek their opinion when planning for the project.

"Public participation is a mandatory process in all projects undertaken by the government. For this case, no one was told that the land owned by the community would be used for a project," Mr Gogo said.

He accused some residents of colluding with the county government to impose the project on them.

TEMPORARY STRUCTURE

According to the group, officials from the county government and some residents who support the project erected a temporary structure to mark the beginning of the construction.

Mr Gogo said every community member should have been involved in the process.

"The reason why we are rejecting this project is because the land where the health centre is proposed to stand is used as grazing and water point for our livestock. Using this land for a health project will deny us an opportunity to keep livestock which we depend on," he added.

Livestock rearing is the main economic activity in the area.

Those opposed to the project say it will only impoverish them.

NOT A PRIORITY

Mr Ogadi said the project is not a priority to them because there is another health facility within the area whose construction remains incomplete.

"Kanyangasi Health Centre whose construction is 95 per cent complete can serve us because it is within this location," he said.

Another group that supports the project, led by Anyuongi Health Centre Development Committee Chairman William Wawa, accused the opposing group of being anti-development.

"We want easy access to health centres and to promote good living. It is therefore wrong to oppose a development project in the village like this one," he said.

Mr Wawa appealed to the community to embrace the project.

Homa Bay County Health Chief Officer Gerald Akech said they have suspended the project until the dispute is resolved.

"We cannot spend money on a project which is marred with controversies and community wrangles. We have suspended the project until the two factions give us a green light to continue," the officer said.

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