Kiambu Governor Wamatangi fights off MPs’ accusations on EPZ project

Governor Kimani Wamatangi

Governor Kimani Wamatangi (centre) receives six title deeds for grabbed public utility land in Kiambu Township Sub-County mid last month.

Photo credit: Pool

The county government has set aside 324.5 acres of land surrendered by Del Monte in Thika for the construction of an Export Processing Zone (EPZ).

Governor Kimani Wamatangi said the EPZ will be strategically positioned to attract both local and foreign investors.

The county boss said his office has been in constant communication with the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry since May to facilitate the gazettement of the land after his executive committee approved a resolution on the same.

“For the avoidance of doubt, my government has allocated over 300 acres of our land in Del Monte for the purpose of the Kiambu EPZ. As a matter of fact, the ministry has received our letters and they have responded to us, committing that our EPZ will be gazetted as requested,” Mr Wamatangi said.

EPZ Authority Chief Executive Officer Hussein Adan Mohammed notifying Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Miano of the county government’s request.

“Pursuant to the resolution of the County Executive Committee meeting held on October 23, Honourable Governor Dr Kimani Wamatangi requested the declaration of land LR No. 12203/06, measuring approximately 131.35 hectares as a public Export Processing Zone,” says Mr Mohammed in a letter dated November 3. A legal notice to the Attorney-General was also attached to the letter.

Housing, Physical Planning, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Executive Salome Wainaina said the EPZ matter was about to be concluded.

“We are expecting the gazettement of our EPZ this week. We have put every effort to ensure we achieve this. The EPZ in Thika will be a liberal economic zone with incentives ranging from subsidised land, accessibility to infrastructure, water and electricity connectivity,” said Ms Wainaina.

Political squabbling has surrounded the county EPZ plans, with a group of MPs, led by Kikuyu’s Kimani Ichung’wah and Senator Karungo Thang’wa accusing the governor of only allocating 100 acres to the project.

In a letter to Ms Miano dated November 1, the MPs accused the county government of failing to act swiftly to establish the EPZ, and that the county was “sabotaging” the process.

But the county administration, in a statement, rubbished the assertions by the leaders.

“There has been a lot of noise out there that we have shown little commitment towards realising this economic zone and that we only allocated 100 acres. To get the correct acres of land set aside, one needs to comprehend that one hectare is equivalent to about 2.41 acres. Therefore, in total, we have set aside 324 acres out of the 676 acres surrendered by Del Monte. The balance has been earmarked for other uses such as affordable housing and public facilities,” read the statement.

Yesterday, the chairperson of the Kiambu County Assembly Trade committee, Mr Peter Ngaruiya, rubbished claims that the county leadership was not committed to the establishment of the EPZ.

The Ngecha-Tigoni ward rep said that after some of the leaders realised that the matter was almost coming to a conclusion, they began a flurry of activities, including sending what he described as “letters that have been overtaken by events” to be seen as the ones pushing the governor to deliver.

“The issue in Kiambu is primarily political meddling as some individuals wish to actively pursue ways to oppose the governor by spreading false information intended to incite the national government against the county leadership.

“If we have correspondence between the government and the county, why would someone claim that the county is not committed? Given that letters indicate over 300 acres, why would someone blatantly lie and claim that the governor allocated 100 acres?” Mr Ngaruiya asked.