Centum’s planned mega city runs into hurdle

James Mworia, Centum Investment CEO, during an interview in his office on February 3, 2016. Mr Mworia has said he is not aware of any opposition against the Vipingo City project in Kilifi. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Even then, the investment firm says set up of the mega city will go on noting that it has immense benefits to the locals.
  • Residents have persistently turned against allocation of 11,974 acres of land to Centum to put up Vipingo City, unless they are involved in the matter.

Plans by Centum to construct a mega city in Kilifi County have sparked a row with residents opposing the project on grounds that they were not consulted, as a wave of land invasions hits the Coast.

Even then, the investment firm says set up of the mega city will go on noting that it has immense benefits to the locals.

Residents have persistently turned against allocation of 11,974 acres of land to Centum to put up Vipingo City, unless they are involved in the matter.

At a meeting to deliberate on the issue in Kadzinuni Village last week, locals were angered by Bambani community based organisation officials for going against their stand to reject the project.

They said the organisation gave its nod for the project to proceed.

Centum Chief Executive James Mworia said on phone that he was unaware of any opposition against the project.

“There has been a lot of support from stakeholders because the project will spur development. I do not understand why and on what grounds anyone would object to the project.”

He added that the company is open to consultations. “If anyone has any concerns they know where and how to contact us.”

This comes as a fresh wave of invasions of privately owned land sweeps across the Coast. Almost two weeks ago, disputes erupted in Kilifi County where squatters invaded 150 acres belonging to the defunct Kilifi cashew nut factory.

The plant buckled in the early 1990s and its assets later sold to a private investor to recoup a loan.

Despite the perceived benefits of the project, Chonyi council of elders chairman, Runya Ngamba, has vowed to lead locals in rejecting the initiative unless consultations are held and proper information provided to them.

"We cannot be taken around in circles. I have never seen any consultative meeting in this area. So if there is any person claiming that there were meetings, then those meetings were a phantom," he said.

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