Matiang’i pushes for laws to curb slums near Konza

An impression of the Konza Tochnopolis Park in Malili, Machakos. FILE
An impression of the Konza Tochnopolis Park in Malili, Machakos. FILE  

Three counties near Konza Technology City will have uniform bylaws to prevent informal settlements within a 10-kilometre radius of the project, ICT Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i has said.

Dr Matiang’i said Makueni, Machakos and Kajiado counties will have uniform bylaws to prevent slums which would undermine the international investors’ appeal.

“The bylaws are aimed at preventing the proliferation of informal settlements near the 5,000-acre park and set standards which should be adhered to by investors outside the Konza City,” said Dr Matiang’i.

He was speaking on Tuesday during a tour of the site together with the governors of the three counties — Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and David Nkedianye (Kajiado). The governors agreed to the common bylaws.

“We are looking to benefit from the project and will put the by-laws in place so that we can have standards,” said Dr Mutua.

The 5,000-acre technology city is set to host international and local business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and health facilities. It will be built in phases starting December.

The development model puts third parties at the centre of its execution with the government offering the land, legal backing and architectural plans. When complete, with the first phase set for completion 2017, it is expected to employ 16,200 workers.

The government will also establish a two-kilometre park around the city to be run by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Investors have been scrambling to buy or sell land near the project that has seen the price surge from Sh200,000 per acre when the government bought the land four years ago to Sh7 million per acre now.

Most land owners have subdivided their parcels to cash in on the high demand. During the Tuesday meeting, a Konza Consultative Committee bringing together leaders from the three counties and national government officials was formed.

It will address community concerns and monitor progress of the project.

“We will carry out civic education and tell our people how they stand to benefit from this mega project,” said Mr Nkedianye.

The government has started digging five bore holes at the site, putting a police post and is expected to build a power station and contract a dam (Thwake dam) for water supply.

The government has also allocated the project Sh1.3 billion in 2013/2014 financial year that will be used for some of the projects in the phase I which runs between 2013 to 2017.

Shanties are becoming an eyesore with small iron sheet structures springing overnight near the technopolis.