By John Ouko,
November 28th, 2017,
The relocation of the Kisumu dumpsite, popular known as “Kachok Dumpsite”, continues to draw mixed reactions from the residents and environmental stakeholders.
The relocation—a campaign promise by the new governor Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o is all but set to begin after the contract was awarded to the Kisumu Concrete Plant in Kajulu to a tune of Kes. 96million. While a section of leaders and Kajulu residents have vehemently opposed the move saying it would pose a huge health challenge to the locals, others are in support of the County Government to move the site from its current location to the new site.
Those in opposition include Kisumu East Mp, Shakeel Shabir in whose constituency the new site is located. He is supported by a number of locals while those in the proponent’s camp include local MCA Roy Samo.
On Monday, a meeting called by a lobby group, Agulu Environment Network at the dumpsite aborted after it was violently disrupted by a group of street urchins who have made the place their home where they scavenge for valuables and retrieve plastics for sale to recycling companies.
The Network Director Bernard Odinga and several members were forced to flee for their lives as the urchins bayed for their blood. Odinga and his team fled as the boys rained stones on them. He told journalists that his resolve to support the relocation of the dumpsite to Kajulu would not be shaken, blaming a section of the County politicians for inciting the urchins against them and to resist the relocation exercise.
“This dumpsite is an eyesore and its relocation is long overdue. Besides, Governor Nyong’o has already set aside funds for the exercise, so everybody should support the move.” He said.
The street urchins on the other hand insist that they are equally stakeholders in their own right and such a drastic move to relocate should have had them at least informed and their views considered. They said that they not only scavenge at the site for valuables, but also eke a living by selling recycling materials to several companies.
Odinga however said that his meeting was meant to meet the urchins alongside his members to see how they would be incorporated into the relocation plan and reach an amicable solution.
Kachok dumpsite has been existence for several years and attempts by successive political leadership to move it to another location have failed. In the run up to the last elections, it formed a major campaign tool as the current governor pledged to relocate it within 100 days in office. It was even nicknamed “Mt. Ranguma” in reference to the immediate former governor Jack Ranguma after he failed to move it to another site.
Attempts to relocate it to a parcel of land in Muhoroni faced stiff resistance from Muhoroni locals led by their Mp, Onyango Koyoo.