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KALRO, devolved unit asked to unlock standoff for relocation of Kitale traders

An ad hoc arbitration committee wants the Trans Nzoia County government andKenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) to quickly address a land dispute, which is now derailing construction works on Kitale – Suam highway.  

The adhoc committee composed of representatives from National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) and National Lands Commission (NLC) held a meeting at the County Commissioner’s boardroom on Monday.

Addressing representatives from both sides, Trans Nzoia West Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Charles Ocharo expressed the national government’s regrets over the ownership dispute of a five-acre piece of public land located at Kipsongo area near Kitale Town.

“This stalemate is now the only reason for the current slow pace of construction works, especially on the section of the road that is passing through Kitale town,” remarked Ocharo, adding the road upgrade project was nearing completion.

The county government had proposed the land for temporary relocation of traders, who are operating in Kitale town, in order to pave way for construction of the Kitale-Suam road; the institute rejected the proposal.

However, two sides are in tussle over ownership of the land portion, which according to records was previously owned by Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) before it relinquished the same to KALRO in 2013.

The devolved unit wants a section of the institution’s land curved from the institution on the basis of the same being a public utility.

“In fact before the standoff, the county government had already earmarked the land for construction of an affordable housing scheme,” disclosed Mr Boniface Wanyonyi County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Housing, Physical Planning and Urban Development.

CEC Wanyonyi was accompanied by her Trade, Commerce & Industry counterpart Mr Simon Kisigei

The land in conflict has eight staff houses for KALRO sitting on it as well as Kipsongo Location Chief’s offices.

During Monday’s meeting the arbitration committee was informed nothing substantial had come out of a previous meeting’s deliberations, which was convened in January, 2022.

KALRO through its Legal Officer Brenda Wahiga is calling for an amicable resolution of the dispute before relinquishing part of its land for the proposed temporary relocation of the Kitale town traders.

“We are asking this committee to allow the institution, through our Managing Director (MD), to outsource an independent lands surveyor to assist establish the rightful owner of the land in dispute,” requested Mrs. Wahiga promising the same to be done within this week.

Ocharo who was standing in for area County Commissioner Samson Ojwang, urged the KALRO’s MD to expedite the matter owing to the fact time was not on the side of the Chinese contractor in charge of the road construction.

“According to a tentative schedule, President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected in the county next month for pre-launch of the Kitale-Suam road and One Stop Border Post (OSBP), which are part of his flagship and legacy projects,” Ocharo informed the sitting.

Proceedings of an adhoc committee mandated to arbitrate the standoff between Trans Nzoia County government and KALRO over a disputed piece of land. The meeting was held at County Commissioner’s boardroom

Upgrading of the Kitale-Suam road, which is being funded by African Development Bank (ADB) to the tune of Sh4.474, 991,400 billion, commenced on August 25, 2018.

The mega project is expected to promote regional integration, improve access and connectivity between Kenya and Uganda, as well as stimulate economic activity in the western part of Kenya and eastern parts of Uganda.

I will also foster transport, communication and trade linkages among Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) countries.



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