Kenya: Kisumu Officials Move to Reclaim Grabbed Land

21 January 2021

Panic has gripped traders and prominent politicians in the lakeside city as Kisumu County government kicked off an audit of illegally acquired land.

The county government is reclaiming the land as it redesigns the city ahead of Africities Conference scheduled for later this year.

Acting City Manager Abala Wanga said there will be no sacred cows in the exercise that seeks to reclaim public land.

He revealed that the county government is currently conducting investigations on over 50 parcels of land that were illegally acquired.

"We call on members of the general public to bear with us as we conclude our investigations and wait for official communications," he said, adding that the names of the grabbers will be made public.

Mr Wanga who dismissed a list of allegedly grabbed land parcels that circulated on social media said his office is conducting investigations to ascertain the authenticity of the list.

"My office can neither accept nor deny the list at the moment as we have no knowledge whatsoever of its point of origin," he stated.

"Until its authenticity is established, my office considers the list withdrawn and shall not be held accountable in any way whatsoever," he said on Thursday.

According to the list, the grabbed parcels that totaled 57 contained names of former prominent politicians and businesspersons in the lakeside city.

The city boss recently raised concern over encroachment of public land by unscrupulous individuals who he alleged are colluding from the Lands office in Kisumu and National Land Commission (NLC).

"We currently have over 50 parcels of land which have been illegally acquired and slowing the beautification programme," he said.

Among other initiatives, the county intends to transform the central business district (CBD) into a non-motorised transport area.

The design of "Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Triangle" will see the conversion of the busy Oginga Odinga street into a one-way avenue with parking lots to be set up at the rear side.

The triangle will be restructured to ensure pedestrians and cyclists enjoy improved convenience, comfort and safety also consists of Jomo Kenyatta Highway and Ang'awa street.

Mr Wanga indicated that the initiative to take shape in the next four months is part of beautification measures being taken by the devolved unit in a bid to attract tourism and investment ahead of the international conference.

Kisumu will become the first intermediary city to host the Africities which is expected to host over 10,000 delegates during the ninth edition of Africities to be held at Mamboleo ASK Showground.

The government also plans to construct the 63km Kisumu-Mamboleo-Chemelil-Muhoroni road and the stretch leading to the facility ahead of the continental summit.

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