Jua Kali artisans in Kitale up in arms over alleged land grabbing incident

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Hillary Atsenga speaking to the press

Jua Kali artisans stationed at the Kenya Industrial Estate (KIE) Kitale are decrying a land grabbing incident where 5 acres of land has been snatched by a developer who has set up rental houses, limiting their workspace in the process.

The group under the banner of the Jua Kali Welfare Association said the once vast piece of land, that can be utilized and was set aside by the government in 1989 has shrunk to about 3 acres yet the artisans are increasing.

“We are concerned about the future of this project since we have been told by the trespassers to vacate this place to give room for the setting up of residential houses in place of workshops,” said Mr. Kelvin Onyango.

The artisans want government investigative agencies to intervene and get to the bottom of the matter before private interests hamper the initial agenda of uplifting those working in the informal sector.

“This land was meant for Jua Kali workers and not for setting up residential houses. We want
the government to repossess this land, and ensure it serves its intended goal,” said Hillary Atsenga. They wondered why various petitions to have the matter addressed have hit a snag, suspecting foul play in the matter.

They have also called for officials to survey the land and assert the boundaries in order to keep off grabbers. The artisans include carpenters, mechanics, tailors and painters.