Residents of Kango in Muhoroni, Kisumu County, who are opposed to an industrial park project, have heckled ODM leader Raila Odinga.
Carrying placards, the Ombeyi Ward residents Monday staged a protest against what they claimed is forced takeover of land for the special economic zone.
The residents claimed that their land is being “grabbed” for a project they do not support and for which they were not consulted.
Trouble started when Mr Odinga said the economic zone is more important than leaving the land fallow or practising small-scale farming.
But some villagers heckled him, saying they prefer their land than the industrial park.
The protesting youths were beaten up and their placards torn even as Mr Odinga prevailed upon those supporting the project to stop manhandling the protestors.
He asked the locals to welcome the project, saying it will open up the region.
"Why are you embarrassing me? I am bringing development yet you are not keen on the projects that will benefit you," said Mr Odinga.
The ODM leader said the project on 500 acres of land will start immediately after Sh500 million is allocated to it in the current financial year and Sh2.5 billion in the next fiscal year.
Building of the industrial part will be launched officially in August by President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Uganda counterpart Yoweri Museveni and Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, Mr Odinga said.
Mr Odinga, who is also the Africa Union High Commissioner for Infrastructural Development, was accompanied by Cabinet secretaries Peter Munya (Trade and Industrialisation), James Macharia (Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development) and John Munyes (Mining).
Mr Munya said the project will be given priority so as to create jobs for the youth in western Kenya in line with the Jubilee Party’s election pledge.
The leaders were later expected to tour and inspect the in inland container depot in Kibos, the Kenya Pipeline Authority oil jetty, the old airport, the dry dock and the ship building yard.