•The county government must undertake proper planning within the law to help spur development and growth of the city
•With good planning, Raila said disasters such as the gas explosion in Embakasi, Nairobi county would have been prevented
Opposition leader Raila Odinga has supported Kisumu county’s reorganisation plans amid opposition from traders.
He said the county government must undertake proper planning within the law to spur development and growth of the city.
Last week, Kisumu traders protested against plans to reorganise the city and demanded sacking of city manager Abala Wanga.
They accused Wanga of conducting demolitions without following the law.
The county government is planning to move Kisumu Bus Park to Mowlem, along the Kisumu-Nairobi Highway.
Chairman Shem Ochuodho accused Wanga of killing their sources of income.
Some of the traders have already lost their properties to auctioneers.
Ochuodho said the reorganisation was being implemented without proper consultation and public participation.
Kisumu Residents Association chairman Audi Ogada accused Wanga of bypassing the governor, chief officers and other directors, when issuing demolition orders.
"It is time we exercised our democratic rights and protected our livelihoods," he said.
The traders said the relocation of the Bus Park poses a major insecurity issue.
But Raila said reorganisation will make the city vibrant and attractive to investors.
He urged Kisumu governor Anyang Nyong’o and Wanga to remain steadfast in proper planning.
“We want proper planning in collaboration with residents to avert future death and loss of property,” Raila said.
Raila said planning will prevent disasters such as the gas explosion in Embakasi, Nairobi county.
The explosion killed six people and injured 280 others in Mradi area.
The opposition leader spoke on Monday when he commissioned Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company new building and the 2023-2028 strategic plan.
He was accompanied by Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, Deputy Governor Mathew Owili, Kisumu Central MP Joshua Oron and a host of MCAs.
Raila said the country’s greatest source of failure is not the lack of funds, personnel or knowledge but lack of planning.
“Our cities are clogged with traffic because we have created bus stops and markets where they were not supposed to be. Sewerage systems are also not working because we have built on them,” he said.
Raila cautioned against turning residential areas into a commercial centres.
“You cannot create your own bus station or build a house where a sewer plant was meant to be. You cannot turn a pedestrian walkway into a market or turn a public market into a private business,” he said.
The former Prime Minister said realisation of the development agenda requires collective responsibility.
“It cannot be done by an individual. The residents of this city and the entire county must come together and rally behind plans to create a sustainable county and city,” he said.
"The city must remain clean and orderly, it must be bright and well-lit at all times, its children and parents must have schools, health facilities and well- paying jobs."
He said even the national roads have become death traps because planning was not followed.
“Every bus or matatu owner wants to create its own stage, decide when to leave and arrive. We may thrive in chaos for a while. In the long run we will lose,” Raila said.
Currently, he said, businesses are moving from Nairobi to Kajiado and Machakos because of poor planning.
“They are paying for it. It is true that if you don’t plan today, you are planning to fail tomorrow. Kisumu must avoid a similar fate by embracing and sticking to planning,” Raila said.
He urged Nyong’o to proceed with its plans to attract investments and create the much needed well-paying jobs.
“Building codes, zoning and land-use planning that leads to provision and maintenance of services like electricity, water supply, emergency responses, drainage systems and protection of assets must be adhered to,” Raila said.
Wanga said he will not relent on plans, which he said are being done within the confines of the law.
He saidthey will reopen the Nyamasaria Bus Park on February 16 and decongest the current bus park.
"We are not closing the current bus park, but the Nyamasaria bus park is complementing the current bus park, and there are people who will go to Mowlem and others will remain," he said.