Webuye town multimillion-shilling project raises a fuss

Proposed industrial park is a joint venture between the county government and Trade ministry.

A view of the main street in Webuye town, Bungoma County. Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has clashed with a section of MCAs over the establishment of an industrial park in Webuye town. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP NATION MEDIA GROUP

IN SUMMARY

  • Maraka MCA, Mr Majani Mutoka, faulted Governor Wangamati for not involving local leaders and stakeholders.

  • But Governor Wangamati insists the programme has outlined public participation activities that will include local leaders.

  • Governor estimates the industrial park will employ some 50,000 youths.

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Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has clashed with a section of MCAs over the establishment of an industrial park in Webuye town.

The county boss maintains that the multi-million-shilling project will go on as planned.

But residents and local leaders have received the project, which is a joint initiative between the devolved unit and the Ministry of Trade, with mixed reactions.

Maraka MCA, Mr Majani Mutoka, faulted Governor Wangamati for not involving local leaders and stakeholders.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ward representative said the process should be open and residents whose houses will be demolished compensated.

“We want to be told where people shall be relocated and the amount of money they will get as compensation,” said Mr Majani.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

But Governor Wangamati has outlined the planned public participation programme in the implementation process of the project.

"We have funds approved in the budget for putting up the industrial park in Webuye. First on this program is a meeting of all stakeholders, which includes elected leaders,” said Mr Wangamati. He said his administration will conduct a head count of affected families.

“We shall also have a sensitisation meeting with the affected families, who stay on the county government land proposed for the industrial park before engaging residents of Webuye town,” said Mr Wangamati.

The governor said that families who own property at the proposed site will be paid.

“But if you grabbed government land, don't expect compensation,” he said.

JOBS

Mr Wangamati said the industrial park seeks to address youth unemployment.

“Youth unemployment in Bungoma, as it is at the national level, is a sticking point. To address this challenge, the park will employ up to 50,000 youths,” he said.

The park will host a milk processing plant and maize mill, among many others.

Webuye was chosen for the industrial park project because of its strategic location. It is close to a highway and the Nabuyole waterfall which the county wants to use for electricity generation.

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