Raila forms team on road demolitions

January 26, 2011

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – The government has set up a 14-member team to come up with recommendations on how to proceed with the expansion of Mombasa Road in light of the proposed demolition of some office complexes along the highway.

While blaming the predicament on poor planning, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the government was keen on reaching an amicable solution to the problem.

"We have agreed to set up a committee consisting of representatives from the government and the private sector.  This is going to discuss the way forward and come up with recommendations within the next two weeks," the premier said at a press briefing after meeting officials of some of the affected building.

The team, which will be chaired by Roads Permanent Secretary Eng Michael Kamau, will include his counterpart from the Lands and Local government as well as representatives from the affected firms such as Standard Group and Safaricom.

There has been uproar from the property owners over the plans to forcefully acquire land on Mombasa Road and Waiyaki Way for the expansion project.

They have argued that the pulling down of the ultra-modern buildings worth billions of shillings will undermine the country\’s investment climate and scare away investors.

The Premier however reiterated the government\’s commitment to encourage and protect investments.

"The government wants investments and it will protect and continue to protect genuine investments," he stated.

But while maintaining that their intention was not to scare away investors, Mr Odinga reiterated the government\’s responsibility to provide infrastructure to its citizens.

"We have to deal with the issue of traffic congestion in our city so that we stem the wastage that we incur in lost man hours, pollution and fuel," he added.

The PM also dismissed reports that this exercise was being undertaken by the ODM faction of the government.

"This is a coalition government but it works as one unit. The ministers don\’t represent one side of the coalition or the other as has been insinuated in the media," he emphasised.

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