By Patrick Kimanzi & Yohana Kimwele.
MWINGI– Kenya Nationa Highways Authority (KeNHA) will not go ahead with earlier plans to bring down business premises earmarked for demolition in Mwingi, Wiper MP Gideon Mulyungi announced yesterday.
LANDMARK: MP Mulyungi, MCAs and KeNHA officials at the Bajabar landmark building that had been earmarked for demolition. The MP has stopped the planned exercise and KeNHA opted for a by-pass©PHOTO/PATRICK KIMANZI/EDITOR
The plans to demolish the structures estimated to be worth close to 0.5 Billion ostensibly to make way for a standard A3 highway, were shelved after a series of marathon meetings and lobbying led by the MP pitting the powerful highways authority and the Mwingi Business Community, local media reported on Friday.
The business community had elicited fears that the economy of the Mwingi town, with an estimated population of 18,000 (2019) was set for a major economic blow if the premises were to be brought down.
“We had to seek the help of Mulyungi who was elected in a landslide. He is a former PS and we told him to persuade KeNHA to consider a bypass through Kivu area and the Directors who toured the town today assured us that not a single building will be demolished. We thank the MP” said former MCA Benard Sila speaking at Muithi Museo Hall was the venue of the highly charged meeting.
“Our struggling economy was saved. Supermarkets, factories, and kiosks which were set to be demolished have a new lease of life thanks to Tsunami. Hundreds of livelihoods have been saved” said Mary Philma Kanini, the Mwingi Central MCA flanked by her Kitui County Assembly counterparts Kilonzi Mama (Kivu) and Kawaya (Nuu).
The much-feared demolitions, usually carried in a gung-ho style are reminiscent of Nairobi city buildings brought down by catapillers and giant earthmovers last year after the County Government of Nairobi made real it’s a threat to save riparian lands.
“We could have witnessed a scene right from a sci-fi movie right here in Mwingi if KeNHA maintained it’ an earlier stance. Hundreds of businessmen would have become paupers as life savings would be reduced to a rumble” said the MP, a former Works PS who whose anti-corruption pathos could be rubbing some people the wrong way.