County officials start demolishing structures outside the ring road

The Garissa county government has started demolishing structures outside ring road after expiry of a two weeks’ notice.

The exercise, however on Thursday met stiff resistance from a section of residents in Bulla Qubah who termed it ‘discriminatory and illegal’.

The residents said they were shocked to wake up in the morning only to find their temporary structures flattened and burnt down.

The exercise had to be suspended after rowdy residents threatened to lynch the county enforcement officers and askaris.

When the press toured the area, tension was still high with the owners of the demolished structures, saying ‘they will stay put’.

The Usalama scheme programme which established ring road was started by the defunct Garissa municipal council to facilitate organized planning and surveying of all land within the municipality.

This followed complaints that private developers were curving huge tracks of land for speculation purpose.

Speaking to the press after visiting the affected residents, Galbet MCA, Abdirzak Ismail accused the county government of sideling the assembly and other stakeholders in the exercise.

As area MCA I am not aware of the operation the county government is undertaking. This is something that should have been brought to the Assembly for debate and determination, said Abdirizak.

If the government wants to repossess this land then let them involve the stakeholders and owners who have occupied the land for the past several years, he added.

He noted that the county government was surpassing their mandate and the National lands commission had not been involved in the matter.

But speaking on phone, County Lands Executive, Mohamed Shale said the residents should vacate the area to pave way for the programme.

I am appealing to the residents of Garissa especially those with structures outside the ring road to cooperate. They need to know this is a programme that was initiated even before the county government come into place, he said.

He denied claims of discrimination in the exercise, saying it was transparent and meant to bring sanity in the adjudication of land in the county.

Source: Kenya News Agency