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Locals in Kalobeyei ward, Turkana County want MCA stopped from derailing development projects

Locals in Kalobeyei ward, Turkana County want MCA stopped from derailing development projects


Wednesday, March 27,2024

KNA by Peter Gitonga

A row between Natira residents of Kalobeyei ward in Turkana County and their Member of County Assembly Julius Edung Apuron is threatening development projects in the area.

The residents, who accused the MCA of chasing away partners supporting community projects, now want him stopped from interfering with projects identified by the locals.

On Monday, the residents asked Turkana Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai to exercise his executive powers to unlock community projects that have failed to take off.

Among the notable projects being contested is the Kudura project, an initiative to provide renewable energy to homes in the remote areas.

Kudura project liaison officer Mr Fred Achoka said the renewable energy project had worked in 24 wards in Turkana county.

Achoka said the projects received political support in all the areas it had worked, except parts of Kalobeyei ward.

“The area MCA asked us to initiate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects so that we get the greenlight to continue with the initiative.

He wanted two classrooms in a school but we informed him that we could offer water and street lights as CSR, but he insisted and became adamant to the extent of chasing away our staff,” he alleged.

The organizations stressed that they were already engaging in CSR since they were offering services that the government should be providing. Led by Peter Eyenai, the locals said they were yet to understand why the politician was stopping projects.

“Our villages have never been connected to electricity since independence. We found an organization that agreed to supply renewable energy to our houses and trading centres. It is puzzling that a political leader is becoming the stumbling block,” said Eyenai.

Eyenai went on to claim: “When we ask why the projects are not taking off, our partners inform us that our ward rep asked them to stop.”

He requested the intervention of Governor Lomorukai, asking the county chief to meet the organisations and assure them of their safety.

“We still hope that the organizations will continue with the projects. We believe that access to reliable energy sources not only enhances productivity but also facilitates access to education, healthcare, and other essential services. We expected no one to obstruct such projects for any reason. This is a setback and we call for intervention,” explained Eyenai.

Another accusation against the MCA is that he had stopped sand harvesting, a venture which they say had created jobs for them.

“It is unfortunate that we were forced to stop the sand harvesting initiative because a well-known cartel demanded a cut,” a youth representative claimed.

A water drilling project by Chinese construction company, locals said, is allegedly among projects derailed by the move.

Moreover, the locals accuse the MCA of micromanaging the projects like water projects where he is demanding that the locals form SACCOs that will be used to pool funds that will benefit the members.

They alleged that the MCA is a beneficiary of funds collected from a Chinese water project.

“He misappropriated the funds because he was the community representative in the company,” they claimed.

Apuron denied the claims and maintained that organizations implementing projects in his ward should establish CSR projects to benefit the community.

“Political rivals are not happy when we ask for CSR projects for our people. We have not stopped any project, we only ask for CSR projects,” he said.

The MCA dismissed the claims saying he was being fought by political rivals.

Courtesy; KNA

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