• Residents say protests derail projects implementation.
• They warned that they will name and shame those planning to sabotage development.
Kisumu residents on Sunday opposed protests being organised by disgruntled politicians over the ongoing demolition, which is meant to create space for projects.
They said demonstrations will derail development in the city. Led by George Anayo, they warned those planning demonstrations that they will face their wrath. Anayo threatened to name the politicians behind the plans.
"We won’t allow few cartels who have grabbed land in Kisumu and built illegal structures to derail development programmes through protest," he said.
"We are aware of the politicians who are organising the demonstration to sabotage development. We are warning them and are ready to expose them. We also know where the hatching of the plan was done and their agenda."
Many traders have been left counting losses after their stalls were flattened to make room for growth projects. They say they have lost their livelihoods and have no alternative space to do business.
The structures and shops on Kenya Railways Corporation land near the city centre have all been brought down. Others on road reserves have also been demolished.
The demolition, Anayo said, is being undertaken by multi-government agencies such as the Kenya Railways, the Kenya Ports Authority, the Kenya National Highways Authority, the Kenyan Urban Roads Authority and the Kenya Rural Roads Authority to pave the way for a megaproject at the Kisumu Port.
"Majority of us have been affected by the ongoing displacement exercise but we have been assured by relevant authorities of an elaborate alternative plan for resettlement," Anayo said.
He said the Sh3 billion rehabilitated port that awaits commissioning will benefit residents and the larger Western Kenya region. The port is one of the biggest projects initiated in Western Kenya after the handshake. The facelift is expected to restore the glory of the once vibrant East African hub, an area previously perceived as deliberately marginalised by the state.
Kisumu Bunge la Wanainchi member Haji Hussein said Kisumu has stagnated for decades, hence the need for the facelift. "We, therefore, appeal to politicians and their sympathisers to support the ongoing implementation of projects in the county," he said.
Hussein urged residents to rally behind President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM leader Raila Odinga and Governor Anyang Nyong’o to spur economic growth. Those opposing progress are enemies of residents as they only push for their selfish interests, he said.
Asma Adiwo told off those planning protests and questioned leaders opposed to the projects to show the public what they have done since their election. She said the projects must be guarded jealously. She faulted those accusing Nyong’o of being behind the demolition to "stop cheap propaganda".
Ayub Kathiambo said the planners are cartels fighting back because the land they grabbed is being repossessed. He warned the youth to shun leaders who want to use them to fight for their selfish gain.
"I want to urge my fellow youths not to be used for political violence. Before going to the streets, you should ask yourself what you are to demonstrate against or any of your property that has been destroyed,” Kathiambo said.
(Edited by F'Orieny)