Mwamba residents seek compensation over damages

The damages are said to have been caused by the Maltauro road Construction Company when working on the Eldoret - Webuye highway

A section of Mwamba residents at the quarry site where they presented their grievances

As the Maltauro road Construction Company winds up construction work on the Eldoret-Webuye highway, residents of Mwamba sub location in Lugari Sub County want the national government to address issues to do with compensations.

Presenting their grievances to local leaders at the Mwamba Quarry, the residents accused the company of failing to honour a claimed agreement made with families living around the quarry where it detonated ballast used to rehabilitate the European Union funded highway.

A section of Mwamba residents at the quarry site where they presented their grievances

“Besides destroying our houses, the blasts left quite a number of our children with deformities,” alleged one resident, who singled out deafness and lameness as main deformities which have affected young children in the area.

The residents, who have threatened to hold peaceful demonstrations, also want the national government compel Maltauro Company to reconstruct a cattle dip and playground, which were destroyed at the time of setting the company’s main site at Mwamba village.

Receiving the residents’ petition, Lumakanda Member of County Assembly, Samson Mmbasu sought the national government‘s urgent intervention into the matter.

Mmbasu expressed disappointment over the manner in which the Italian company had handled the compensation issue.

“It is disheartening to watch our people, especially the elderly being left helpless,” observed the MCA who promised to table the petition before floor of the Kakamega County Assembly.

But speaking to on behalf of the company, Site Agent Manager, Mr. Jacob Odallo, dismissed the allegations, saying they were made out of ignorance.

“So far we don’t have any formally registered complain,” said Odallo.

some of cracked building as a result of the blasts

According to Odallo, the company owes nothing to the community living around the site, “because we compensated all individuals whose houses were damaged, especially those whose rooftops were perforated as result of the blasting activity,” he added.

Odallo, however, asked the aggrieved residents to channel their grievances to right authorities and bodies, which include ministries of transport and infrastructure, lands and environment as well as the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

The official clarified that his employer was not in charge of procuring the parcel of land on which the company carried its operations.

“The said portion of land where the said playground and cattle dip were sat on was not bought by Maltauro Company but was provided by the national government,” said Odallo, adding the same land had become property of the government.

Some of the cracked buildings as a result of the blast

The official has urged concerned ministries to work closely with NEMA, KeNHA and other stakeholders  in carrying  out a comprehensive audit report on the damages caused, which he said would help the national government in addressing the resident’s plight.

“Medical reports on victims who have been affected by the blasts should also be attached to the same audit report,” added Odallo.

Odallo confirmed the company was winding its operations after five years of working on the highway from 2011.

In fact the Company’s Operations Manager, Mr. Ivan Ferrari is said to have already left the country a month ago.