West Pokot residents decry delayed cement factory construction in Sebit

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A signpost along the busy Kitale-Lodwar road displaying the direction of the cement factory site in Sebit, West Pokot
A signpost along the busy Kitale-Lodwar road displaying the direction of the cement factory site in Sebit, West Pokot

Residents of Sebit in West Pokot County have decried the delayed setting up of a cement factory in Sebit area. They want the investor who is supposed to construct the plant to do it quickly or give room to another willing investor.

They complained that project has long delayed to start and that the investor has been promising to commence construction since 2010.

A spot check at the site revealed the investor has started constructing a few houses at the site along the busy Kitale-Lodwar highway.

They said that they are languishing in poverty after they sold their pieces of land at a throwaway price. They disclosed that the factory will help stimulate other projects in various sectors like roads, health, water and education since 25% of the profits earned yearly will remain in the County as a social responsibility pointer by the company.

Collected stones that are rich in limestone that can be used in manufacturing of cement
Collected stones in Sebit, rich in limestone that can be used in the making of cement

Interviewed residents said local entrepreneurs set base at Sebit trading center after commissioning of the project and put up business premises and rental houses targeting a good number of workers expected to be employed in the factory.

They now accuse relevant government departments and their leaders for keeping quiet on the matter, yet they had promised that the work was to commence immediately the former prime minister Raila Odinga commissioned the project.

They have called on the national government to come to their rescue and explain the real cause of the delay.

Accusations and counter-accusations have in the past emerged among the local leaders over the awarding of the tender to set up the cement factory.

Former Governor Simon Kachapin toured India during his tenure and held discussions with Cemtech on the establishment of the factory.

Led by Tecla Kaston, the residents said they are ready to take back their land if the investor will not begin the construction. “The investor has made promises several times. been promising several times and if he doesn’t show up we’ll look for another willing investor who can construct the factory,” added Kaston.

Cemtech Sanghi Group bought 650 acres of freehold land at Pokot at the cost of Ksh 120 million for the project site.

A resident, Mr. Augustine Loria observed that the factory can use limestone in the area for more than fifty years. He said that the promised equipment for the factory hasn’t arrived never arrived and has taken a long time. “When will the equipment come?” he posed.

Loria faulted the company General manager Diptish Nandha for failing to offer civic education to locals about the cement plant.