Stakeholders say local communities are highly conservative and religious and that conflicts arising from sleeping with women and girls could jeopardise project implementation
Contractors and their workers have been warned against seducing locals when the construction of the 748km Isiolo-Mandera road starts.
A stakeholder forum on Wednesday warned that the host communities are highly religious and that foreigners sleeping with local women would jeopardise construction works.
The forum held in Isiolo brought together officials from the Ministry of Transport, The World Bank, Kenya National Highways Authority, county government and civil society organisations.
They said construction works will start in a few months time. The stretch is part of the 1,200km Nairobi-Mandera road. It will pass through Wajir county.
Both locals and foreigners were advised to respect each other. The host communities are largely conservative with strict adherence to tradition and religious beliefs.
The Frontier Counties Development Council CEO Mohamed Guleid said conflicts could arise if elders notice the birth of children sired by foreigners like the Chinese.
He cautioned against sexual encounters with local girls and women.
"The conflict that could arise from such a scenario alone could jeopardise the entire project given the weight with which locals uphold religion and tradition," Guleid said.
The former Isiolo deputy governor asked project implementers to work closely with local leaders, including elders, to avoid interfering with highly respected places like graves and mosques during construction.
Isiolo county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri called for respect between the host communities and foreign workers for a smooth implementation of the project.
“There should be no introduction of alcohol or any other drugs in restricted areas. Local youths must refrain from asking for jobs that they do not qualify for because unskilled jobs will definitely be given to them," Kanyiri said.
He urged residents to welcome experts from distant places who will be on board to provide the technical support.
Engineer James Theuri from the Ministry of Transport said local communities will also benefit from internet services given a fibre optic cable will be installed along the entire road.
Social amenities like hospitals and schools will also be constructed as part of the project that is meant to open up the entire Northern Kenya region for development.
Construction of the road has been funded through a partnership between the World Bank and the national government to a tune of more than 500 million dollars.
edited by peter obuya