Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party leader Raila Odinga, on Friday, vowed to take action against the Kakamega County Regional Commissioner who allegedly ordered the demolition of palatial houses in the Milimani estate in the leafy suburbs of Kakamega town.
Raila, who was addressing a rally in Kakemga, said he would be moving to court to revoke the post of Regional Commissioners, which he termed unconstitutional and therefore illegal.
Billionaire Jaswant Singh Rai, the chairman of the West Kenya Sugar Company, was among those affected by the demolitions which were done to pave the way for President William Ruto’s Affordable Housing Project.
Rai reportedly acquired the developed property after taking over as the new owner of the West Kenya Sugar Company from a Kenyan-Indian compatriot.
A photo collage of demolished houses in Kakamega’s Milimani Estate
“While I was watching television last night, there was an incident that happened here in Kakamega. They brought bulldozers and demolished houses,” Raila noted.
“This is a relic of colonialism that we must remove, and we will go to court to declare this so-called provincial administration unconstitutional. County commissioners have no powers to interfere with the governor. The so-called regional commissioners are illegal, and there are no regions in our government structure.”
Raila added that several other senior individuals lost property worth millions. Other than Rai, a former Mayor from Kakamega, a widow and Lurambi MP Bishop Titus Khamala were affected by Ruto’s Affordable Housing programme.
“This is an act of brutality that has been meted against our people here in Kakamega. It is terrible that this should be happening under the administration of a government that came to power promising to be pro-people,” Odinga slammed Ruto.
Under the devolved system of the government, he added, the executive authority in counties rests with the governor, not the regional commissioners.
“I want to say here today that the provincial administration went with the old Constitution The new constitution has no provision for provincial administration. There is an infectious act which they brought here to try to bring the national government down to the counties,” the ODM leader argued.
On Wednesday, Governor Fernandes Barasa distanced himself from the demolitions, noting that he was not consulted before the demolitions began.
“Regarding the ongoing demolitions of property in the Milimani Estate within Kakamega town, I wish to state that we were not part of those activities,” Barasa defended himself.
Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa gives an address during a public participation forum in Ikolomani sub-county, Kakamega County on October 6, 2023.
County Government of Kakamega