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Multimillion shilling ESP programme halted

05 October 2012, 07:06 James Kabotia

A groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a multi-million shilling fresh vegetables market in Nanyuki town aborted yesterday after residents of Majengo protested its construction in their neighbourhood.

This was the second time that the construction of the Sh10 million facility failed to take off due to a controversy surrounding the plot on which it is set to be erected. It is funded by the government through the economic stimulus programme and will comprise 38 stalls.

The town's mayor Mr Isaac Mathenge who was to preside over the exercise together with the town clerk were turned back by a rowdy crowd that vowed that the market would not be constructed there.

“This ground is used by our children to play and our MP has already allocated Sh300,000 from the constituency development fund to improve it. The plot allocated for the market was grabbed and we will never allow the council to construct the facility here,” a resident Mr Ranking Wamatumbi said.

They said the ground was as old as Majengo and was also used for holding meetings by the residents.

Stadium ward councillor Stephen Gichora said that he had not been informed about the ground-breaking ceremony, despite the project being in his area, which would given him a chance to convince the residents.

“Such a ceremony should have been preceded by a meeting to prepare and convince the residents to accept the project. I was not informed about the ground-breaking yet this is my area,” the civic leader said.

Mr Gichora said the funds were returned to the Treasury last year after the contractor pulled out due to the controversy that surrounded the ground.

“The contractor could not mobilize even after he was given the go-ahead after he apparently feared losing his money,” Mr Gichora said.

However, Mayor Mathenge warned that the council could lose the allocation if the controversy persisted. He said it was for Majengo people to decide which one between the market and the empty ground would benefit them more.

After a meeting with officials of the residents, he said that the fate of the project will be known tomorrow.

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