Malindi residents on Friday held a peaceful demonstration to protest the suspension of the ongoing construction of Sh67 million World Bank Absa- Mtangani Prison Road in Kilifi County .
The residents, led by Kilifi Members of County Assembly Kadenge Mwathethe (Shela), Edward Kazungu Dele (Sabaki) and David Kadenge Dadu (Malindi Town), said they were shocked after some members of Malindi business community moved to court to stop the tarmacking of the Malindi Absa-Mtangani GK Prison Road.
"Those people purporting to be members of Malindi business community who have moved to court to stop the project do not have interest of the public at heart," said Mr Kadenge adding "locals have been waiting for the tarmac road for years only for the project to be suspended by few individuals."
This comes a few days after a section of Malindi business community led by the Malindi Progressive Welfare Association and the Kilifi branch of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) obtained a court order stopping the project.
In the application before a Malindi High Court, the Malindi Progressive Welfare Association and KNCCI want the World Bank-funded road to be built using cabro blocks instead of bitumen as approved by the County Government of Kilifi.
The construction of the 800-metre road from the Absa Bank to Paradise Hotel project is already in progress.
Speaking to the press during the demonstrations, Mr Kadenge said locals want a tarmac road which is more durable. They have asked the Malindi business community against denying residents their right to good roads.
"The poor state of road had forced several businesses in the area to close down and people who do not want development might prompt the World Bank to withdraw the funding for the project," he said.
Mr Kadenge said those opposed to the project had their own interests since some of them have cabro-manufacturing companies.
Mr Dele, who is also the chairman of Kilifi County Assembly Committee on Urban Development said the project was mooted after residents appealed to him to have the road built.
"We have documentary evidence that the County Assembly committee on Urban Development, had conducted public participation for the project and locals demand the construction to proceed," he added.
Mr Peter Njuno, a resident said the road, once completed, will boost tourism and the economy of the area. He said that fighting the project might make the World Bank pull out from the project.
"The road will improve the transport system to the villages and boost local businesses and tourism in the resort town," he said adding "for many years, locals have demanded the tarmacking of the road which was in pathetic condition."
In March this year, Governor Amason Kingi unveiled an Urban Development Plan for rehabilitating Malindi to transform the town to a 'marine resort city' at a cost of Sh800 million donated by the British government.
The five-year plan is part of Sh7.2billion (£60 million) for the Sustainable Urban Economic Development programme (SUED) sponsored by British government, aimed at supporting10 fast-growing municipalities in the country to develop sustainable urban economic plans and attract investment.
Already the has begun the upgrading of Sh75 million Malindi beachfront at Bunthwani and construction of 5.5kilometre Malindi Beachfront Road from the Lawfords Hotel to Vasco Da Gama Pillar and Marine Park which will cost Sh150 million.
The Malindi beachfront upgrading project covering a distance of about nine Kilometres from the Vasco Da Gama's Pillar to the Sabaki Bridge is similar to the Mama Ngina WaterFront Project in Mombasa.