Residents of Kisumu County have urged the County Government to involve them in development of projects to avoid conflicts.

The resident made the remarks during the 87th session of the KARA Bimonthly Talk Series (BTS) forum held in Kisumu, on 19 March 2021 and supported by Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF). The theme of discussion for the forum was “Achieving Sustainable Development through Urban Planning” 

Speaking at the forum, the coordinator of Grassroots Trust, Lawrence Apiyo, said public participation is crucial in county governance and projects implementation and county leadership must fully embrace it. He said that residents should be part of the ongoing development planning and implementation as they are affected either positively or negatively. “Recent demolition of structures in Kisumu was done without proper public participation and the affected traders and residents were not given adequate time to look for alternative location. Most residents and traders whose houses and shops were demolished are yet to be resettled by the County Government thus leaving them jobless” he said. He urged the County Government to identify alternative spaces for persons affected by evictions and demolitions, to enable them resume their normal life.

Mr. Israel Agina, Chairman, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI), Kisumu Branch stated that that although tremendous progress has been achieved towards sustainable development in Kisumu, the County faces a myriad of challenges. The ongoing demolitions of business premises is affecting the County’s economic performance; poor planning in the satellite towns such as Muhoroni, Kombewa, Pap Onditi has made the areas not conducive for doing business; Too many tax regimes that cause confusion to traders and investors in the County; Poor service delivery despite payment of taxes/levies to the County by residents; Conflict of interest by County leaders in tendering for projects; lack of public participation in development of urban development plans such as the County Valuation Roll; and the lack of solid waste management systems in the informal settlements. He called on the County Government to engage relevant stakeholders in finding sustainable solutions on the issues.

Kara CEO, Henry Ochieng urged the residents to make use of the Resident Associations to engage the County Government in a structured way and demand that they be involved in decision making process. He said that Kara work with the Associations to ensure that the County Government is responsive to the needs of Kisumu residents and is involving them in decision making.

You can find a link to the forum here: