Land row derails building of key Kenya-Uganda road


Eliud Kireger, Kalro Director General. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A land dispute between the county government of Trans Nzoia and the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (Kalro) has delayed the completion of the Kitale-Suam dual carriage road.

The county and the State research agency both lay claim to a five-acre piece of land at Kipsongo area, near Kitale Town, on which the regional government had proposed to temporarily relocate traders to pave the way for the road construction.

Kalro, however, rejected the proposal, saying the land is meant for research.

Research only

"We wish to clarify that the five-acre piece of land the county government wants to relocate traders to is owned by Kalro for research purposes and the boundary line is the Kitale National Polytechnic and not Kitale Municipality," said Kalro director-general Eliud Kireger in a letter addressed to the Trans Nzoia county commissioner, seeking support to resolve the issue.

He said all land held by the organisation is designated as research land to be used solely for that purpose.

Once completed, the road is expected to promote regional integration, improve access and connectivity between Kenya and Uganda as well as stimulate economic activity in the western part of Kenya and Eastern parts of Uganda.

In addition, it is expected to foster transport, communication and trade linkages among Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch the project alongside the One-Stop Border Post (OSBP), which are part of his flagship and legacy projects, before the General Election in August.

Time is, however, running out for the ad-hoc committee set up to resolve the matter, which now wants the county government and Kalro to quickly address the dispute.

The committee has representatives from National Government Administration Officers (NGAO) and National Land Commission (NLC).

Staff houses

“This stalemate is the only reason for the current slow pace of construction works, especially on the section of the road that is passing through Kitale Town,” said Trans Nzoia West deputy county commissioner Charles Ocharo.

The land in conflict has eight Kalro staff houses sitting on it, as well as the Kipsongo location chief’s offices.

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