The High court in Malindi has suspended the tarmacking of Absa-Mtangani road in Malindi.
The sh.67 million World Bank funded project was temporarily suspended following a petition by stakeholders challenging the legality of the process.
Malindi High Court Judge Reuben Nyakundi ordered the temporary suspension of the project after the Malindi Progressive welfare association together with other stakeholders moved to court seeking an order for the project to be stopped until the matter is heard and determined.
The petitioners claim that the project being built was not the one approved by the World Bank and the public was not involved.
Conrad Otiang’, a lawyer representing the petitioners, said that the petition is challenging a change of the nature of the project without involving the public.
”One thing I want made clear at this onset is that we are not opposed to the project, there might be confusion that might arise as to why Progress welfare association, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce, Kenya Hotel Keepers and caterers association, and Malindi Residents Development Forum went to court is not to stop the project but to make sure a project that touches on the lives of people is implemented accurately as was approved by the board and as was funded by the world bank,” he said.
The municipality is said to have changed the finishing of the road from cabro as earlier planned to bitumen standard, which the petitioners say is wrong.
Senior Lawyer Tukero ole Kina also representing the petitioners said the directive was faulted, thus they wanted a direction given by the court.
”When you have an investment in a town, like this road, and you are doing it in a manner that does not satisfy the people you are serving it is wrong,” he said.
”We have been denied the minutes of the tender board we need to know who are these people who were given the tender and who is this one implementing the road, whether it is the person given the tender or it is something else,” he said.
Ole Kina said they also sought an order requiring that the county government conduct proper public participation in the process of creating the road.
Phillip Chai a veteran hotelier and member of the Progressive welfare association said despite complaining about the project not to be done in bitumen the authorities still decided to do it in bitumen standards.
The aim he said was not to do it for the benefit of themselves but for the general public of Malindi adding that they are happy the court had suspended the project until the matter is resolved by the court.
The project is one of the sh.230 million world bank-funded projects to upgrade the town under the Kenya Urban Support Program.