The Kakamega county government says it has never issued any approvals for construction of Hamptons Mall and Mwale Medical & Technology City in Butere sub-county as per the Physical Planning Act of 2012.
The Act requires county governments to control any developments in their jurisdiction. “The construction of this project is not approved by us neither are the buildings constructed to our standards. Last year, we placed an advert in the local dailies where we gave notice for demolition,” said an official who did not wish to be quoted.
He said any public road construction projects, including by donors and well-wishers, must involve both the county and national governments. “Nobody can build county roads without authorisation from the county government. And if approved, such construction must be supervised by a county engineer,” added the official.
The projects investor, Julius Mwale, has been busy installing streetlights in the neighbourhood — a project that requires county government approval. County officials say it is a massive project, yet no copies of approvals have been provided by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema). “What is required is an Environmental Impact Assessment study by Nema on how the project will impact on local rivers and topography, among others,” said the official.
Even the Public Health and Sanitation component has not been approved by the county Health minister. Moreover, there has been no public participation on the project, which should have been spearheaded by the county government.
“The project will impact on the lives of the residents of Lunza village, a rural community, forever. Residents need to know its positive and negative implications, but we were not even involved in such sensitisations,” said the official.
In a media advertisement in July 2017, the County Secretary threatened to demolish the buildings and restore the grounds to their original state at the investor’s expense.