Lamu, KENYA: Lamu residents are opposed to a plan by the national government to set up two more county headquarters at a Sh.300 Million.
If the plan goes through, Lamu will be the first county to have three headquarters.
Last week, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, Paul Maringa announced that the government would set up two more county headquarters in Faza and Hindi areas in Lamu East and West respectively.
He said the main aim of building the additional headquarters is to ensure service delivery to citizens is decentralized as much as possible.
However,Lamu residents who met at the Mkunguni Square over the issue of Monday, have termed the plan as unrealistic and unnecessary and instead want the funds directed to a more ‘meaningful’ venture in the county.
Lamu currently has its headquarters located in Mokowe town on the mainland, having been set up at a Sh.220 Million cost.
Many are of the opinion that Lamu is faced with a myriad of challenges among them insecurity and poverty which should be given a priority as opposed to setting up extra headquarters.
Led by local leader Mohamed Bin Ali, residents said the current headquarter is situated in Hindi ward and that building yet another one in the same ward wasn’t just discriminatory but a huge misappropriation of public funds.
Locals have also said there is a need for the government to hold public forums with members of the public before deciding on any project in any part of the country.
“First of all, such an idea is a total waste of money.Look at the challenges Lamu faces.People need food, security is an issue, education isn’t at its best.We don’t have enough amenities like hospitals.Look at the roads on which so many lives have been lost.We don’t even have a college here like with other counties.In the midst of all these problems, why would someone think of adding headquarters? The one we have is already enough.Let them put that money to some other use if they want to help us,” said Ali.
Others feel it would be better for one of the proposed headquarters to be set up in Mpeketoni instead of Hindi.
According to Anthony Njomo, a former MCA, it makes more sense for one of the headquarters, if absolutely necessary to be set up, to be in Mpeketoni for the sake of balance.
“Let one of the premises be in Mpeketoni so that it can serve people there and those from Witu since the two areas are very far from Mokowe and Hindi,” said Njomo.
If the plan sails through, the national government will shoulder 70% of the total expenses while the county government takes the remaining 30% cost.