According to Dr. Ekisa, Kakamega county government has already released a total of Kshs. 20 million towards the medical facility project, but the proposed site for its construction has elicited clashing views from the locals.
Whereas one faction supports the proposed site for the project at Railway B village, the other faction is fighting to have it at Lumakanda trading centre, which also serves as the Sub County headquarters.
Dr. Ekisa has explained in details why stakeholders involved in the project decided to buy the 5-acre piece of land that has now generated controversy.
The medical practitioner disclosed to West Media that besides the county government’s initiative of elevating Lumakanda Hospital to the level 4 status, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) plans to allocate close to Kshs. 30milion for the construction of a modern theater and maternity wing in the Sub County.
“Prior to the proposal by the county government and UNICEF, we had spent more than four years trying to look for a suitable space for purposes of expanding Lumakanda County Hospital,” said Dr. Ekisa, adding most of the available pieces of land did not meet required conditions.
The county treasury disbursed the initial allocation of Kshs. 10million in the 2014/2015 budget before the additional Kshs. 10 million in the 2015/2016 fiscal year.
“Before the end of the last financial year, the county controller of the budget had threatened to return the money to the national treasury,” revealed Dr. Ekisa.
However, frantic efforts made by the hospital management board in conjunction with stakeholders, including Sub County and ward administrators and representatives from Lugari constituency and county assembly offices, settled for the land at Railway B village.
“This was after it met all the set conditions and was unanimously approved by the county surveyor, county valuer, county architect, and county attorney,” said Dr. Ekisa, adding purchase of the land saved the Sub County from losing the Kshs. 20million.
For one to sell land to any government body, they must satisfy some basic requirements which include valid having valid title deeds, National Identity (ID) cards as well as Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) pins.
Reliable information gathered revealed that a group of elders and opinion leaders visited the county governor’s office last week, where it presented a memorandum opposing the controversial site.
The move prompted a section of Railway A and B villagers to organize and participate in a peaceful demonstration on Monday at the proposed site, warning of dire consequences if the proposed facility is relocated elsewhere.
The protesters accused their counterparts of frustrating development projects in the area for a long period of time.
“This group is made up of old fogies who have outlived their purpose,” claimed Mr. Washington Mutsotso, a youth leader who led the demonstrators.
Dr. Ekisa expressed his fear over the possibility of UNICEF pulling out on account of the growing wrangles.
The UNICEF projects are set to commence this December, according to the Sub County health boss.
He, however, promised to engage the opposing camps for an amicable breakthrough. Speaking separately to West Media, Lugari Sub County Administrator, Mr. Job Wanjala Luvonga echoed the doctor’s sentiments and appealed for calm from the locals.
“I also urge elected leaders to desist from unnecessarily interfering with national and county government programmes aimed to improve living standards of citizens,” observed Luvonga, adding Governor Oparanya was likely to comment on the issue during Mashujaa Day celebrations on Thursday 20th October 2016.
The county Mashujaa Day celebrations will be held at Lumakanda Township grounds.