Court allows Bungoma’s Sh1.38bn dual carriageway to proceed

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• Justice Stephen Riechi says the applicant failed to demonstrated sufficient urgency and grounds to do so.

• Last month human rights activists John Wekesa and Raphael Makokha obtained orders to serve the county for an inter-partes hearing to stop planned works.

Construction of the Musikoma-Kanduyi dual carriageway will go on after the High Court in Kisumu declined to issue temporary orders stopping it.

The court allowed the Bungoma government to proceed with the project.

In his ruling, Justice Stephen Riechi ruled that the applicant had not demonstrated sufficient urgency and grounds to do so.

Instead, the judge ordered the applicant files written submissions against the dual project in 14 days. He also ordered the respondents including the county, the governor, and the Kenya National Highways Authority to file their written submissions in 28 days.

The project is one of Governor Wycliffe Wangamati’s flagship projects. It will cost Sh1.3 billion.

Already, a Chinese construction company is on site in Musikoma.

On April 11, human rights activists John Wekesa and Raphael Makokha obtained orders to serve the county for inter-partes hearing to stop planned works on the Musikoma-Kanduyi road.

In the petition dated April 9, the duo had sued Wangamati, Roads executive Collins Mukhongo, chief officer Maurice Marango, Kenha director general, the Attorney General and the Controller of the Budget.

The activists said the respondents violated the Constitution, the Roads Act of 2007, the Environmental Management and Coordination Act 1999, Nema regulations, the County Government Act 2012, the Public Finance Act 2012, the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2015 and other legislation.

They wanted the court to interpret, among other issues, whether the county and its officials violated the Constitution by awarding Sh60-70 million in 2018-19 for the Kenha road from Musikoma to Kanduyi.

However, appearing before Justice Riechi, petitioner’s lawyer Obwatinya prayed for conservatory orders stopping the county from continuing with the project until after the full hearing. 

Justice Riechi set a full hearing for June 6.

Meanwhile, the county is free to proceed with works on the road.

Wangamati on Tuesday praised the court’s decision, saying it was a plus for residents who can’t wait to have the dual carriageway that will change the face of Bungoma town.

“We are happy the court has today told off enemies of development that they do not have concrete reasons to stop the works that we are doing,” he said. 

“I want to tell our people across all the nine constituencies that we shall not step back, but we will focus on delivering our election pledges to the electorate who  gave us the responsibility to transform Bungoma into a better place.” 

The governor accused people he termed “conmen” of funding the court cases to derail his work.

“If you are interested in governorship and you are looking for votes for 2022, wait for that time to come,” he said. 

Wangamati spoke to journalists in Webuye town hall during a public participation meeting to set up of a dairy processing plant.

“I want to thank Webuye residents for showing up in large numbers. It will be the first project that will be set up in our industrial park at Wananchi area,” he said. 

The dairy plant will process about 25,000 litres of milk per day when complete. 

The governor said the project will create jobs for boda boda riders to ferry milk from farm gates to the processing plant.

It will create jobs for the youth. It will also create business for animal feed producers and raw material producers. Dairy farmers will get direct market for their milk.

“Githunguri milk plant in Kiambu is processing 200,000 litres of milk per day. Money that circulates in that county among farmers is estimated at Sh8 million everyday just from milk deliveries alone,” the governor said.

He said the project is set to begin in two weeks and by the end of 2020, we will have milk produced and processed here in Bungoma.

SOURCE: the-star.co.ke


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