People who have encroached on road reserves and sewer lines have been put on notice as Kisumu gears up for a major facelift.
The initiative by Kisumu City Board is meant to reorganise Kisumu’s lake fronts in a bid to boost its tourism potential and revive Lake Victoria’s blue economy, which is in line with the objectives of the national government.
To kick-start the process, board manager Doris Ombara said they have set aside Sh250 million to improve the rundown drainage system and embark on a beautification project of the Central Business District (CBD).
“The money has been provided by the World Bank after negotiations led by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o,” said Mrs Ombara.
She said the resources would be used for modernisation of Kenyatta Avenue, Oginga Odinga and Ang’awa streets.
The initiative, dubbed “CBD Triangle”, is expected to kick off any time. This is after the board picked a successful contractor to work on the multimillion shilling project on Friday.
“The works will begin from the Kisumu Boys roundabout to Kenya Commercial Bank roundabout then stretch to Obote Road next to Lwang’ni Beach and the whole of Ang’awa Street which links Oginga Odinga Street and Kenyatta Avenue,” she said.
Some of the works to be done in the city drainage master plan are replacement of broken slabs, construction of pedestrian walks, installation of road furniture and toilets, noted Mrs Ombara.
She said completion of the project is expected to upgrade the town’s drainage, which was done in 1950s when the population was estimated to be under 50,000.
“The facility has now become strained, with over one million people currently depending on the system,” she said.
“It is unfortunate that intruders have even invaded the town centre and put at risk some of the key facilities like the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground,” she said.
In preparation for the rainy season, the city manager said they have started clearing rivers Nyamasaria and Auji to mitigate the effects of a downpour, which usually causes flood and destruction of property.
Deputy city board chairperson Peris Ocholla said they have come up with a comprehensive programme to address flooding that renders most of the roads impassable due to overflowing drainages.
“Most of the people affected are those living in informal settlements, which comprise 60 per cent of the total population,” she said.
Some of the estates under threat are Manyatta, Nyalenda, Obunga and Migosi where most of the houses are said to have been constructed on waterways and sewer lines.
Mrs Ombara said no one will be spared in the ongoing effort to reclaim the city.
“There will be no sacred cows in the ongoing exercise, which started two weeks ago. Some people will have to be sacrificed for the rest of the community to survive,” she said.
This comes as the meteorological department issued an alert that long rains would begin soon, at the end of March.