By Dennis Chagala, Kakamega
Residents bordering Shinyalu airstrip in Kakamega County have demanded County Government to compensate ‘graves’ of their departed kin before being relocated in order to pave way for the airstrip expansion.
The area residents who spoke to Countysplash alleged that the spirits of their ancestors will haunt them wherever they are if they fail to honor them by leaving their graves in the hands of strangers.
They demanded to be paid first by their County Government to allow them meet the cost of conducting traditions aimed to appease their ancestors before relocation.
“Our tradition does not permit us to move to another place if the land we inherited from our ancestors has their graves, a tradition must be performed on top of the graves before leaving, this aims to appease the ancestral spirits”, Said Oscar Musonye, a resident who awaits to be evicted.
This comes a few days after the County Government of Kakamega proposed to relocate the residents to Shikutsa and Kakamega forest to pave way for the airstrip’s management to expand and enable it to accommodate airplanes with bigger capacity.
“Our government tends to move people to alternative lands and later evict them under the pretext of grabbing the Government land, we are afraid of the misfortunes befalling the residents of the Mau forest may as well happen to us,” He added.
Their suggestion to the County governmen
t is to value their assets, including the price of their land, house, and other assets, and to give them the amount of money compatible with the assets that will allow them acquire land to a place of their own choice.
“If we have to be moved to other places, then the county government should be ready to give us land with their title deeds that will prove we are the rightful owners of the said land,” he said.
This is happening while the residents who were displaced from the area where the stadium was built in 1984 are crying to the government and the management of the stadium to compensate them, 39 years after the stadium was constructed.
Already the County government of Kakamega through its chiefs and deputy chiefs has initiated a process of enlightening the residents bordering the airstrip on the economical importance of expanding the land while linking them to financial expertise to educate them on how to use the money that they will be compensated with.
“Most of them are not used to huge amounts of money as what they will be compensated with, others may end up using the money for luxury and later may turn out poor, we have started educating them on how they will use that money to avoid later regrets”, Said Benard Shikhovolo, area assistant chief.
However, contrary to the resident’s expectations that the newly-opened airstrip will open up job opportunities to them, especially those in the transport sector, bodaboda operators in the area have complained of being chased away directly near the airstrip by the management, asking the county government to intervene to enable them to enjoy the fruits of the airstrips in the area.
“We have been sidelined by the airstrip’s management; we are forced to book a parking receipt of Ksh. 50 daily to be allowed to access passengers from the landing plane.
We highly condemn this since it’s unfair to pay such a high amount compared to the county’s parking fee which is Ksh.1000 per year equivalent to 2 shillings per day. We cannot pay Ksh. 50 daily for only fifteen minutes,” Said Aggrey Mbeele. “We have been negatively linked to ill mannerisms, insecurity, and mishandling of people.
This one poses a threat to us getting more passengers from the landing planes.” Added Dickson Shivokha.
More than 80 families living near the airstrip in Muranda ward are expected to be relocated to pave way for the third phase of the expansion, this will enable bigger airplanes to land in the area hence boosting its economy.
Initially, the runway was 1.3 km long but has since been extended to 2.2 kilometers, with 100 to 200 acres required to expand it to a full airport.