The strained standoff between locals and Chinese investors in Migori county reared its ugly head again when residents led demonstration at a quarry in Central Sakwa ward.
The angry residents from Ombo Kware, Otuchi and Bita blocked roads leading to three firms quarrying in the area and undertaking major road tarmacking projects in Nyanza region.
It forced armed police officers from Awendo police post to man entrance of the firms to prevent angry demonstrator who had lit bonfires and carried twigs from looting the firms.
Charles Odundo, a resident said they are demanding the firms to give notice when they want to blast rocks, contain dust and maintain drainage of the area caused by disused pits.
The community demanded that homes destroyed by blasting by having cracked walls, farms destroyed by run off waters and water drinking points destroyed by oil should be compensated.
Odundo said they also need over 70 per cent of locals employed in the firms not having outsiders.
Paul Gwada, Awendo location chief said attempts to establish a meeting between locals and the firms failed which prompted the demonstrations.
He said police had to maintain peace and avoid looting of firms by locals, but said “there is a plan to have another joint meeting between government officials, firms and community representatives.”
Speaking to the press over the phone on, Awendo MP Walter Owino said the three firms will only proceed with operations in the area after the meeting and an agreement is passed.
He said they need them to give back to the society even by maintaining local institution like schools and health centers, together with bursary.
The legislator said feeder roads from Ombo-Owiro Akoko and Ombo-Ranjira roads have been destroyed by machines from the three firms, and “they need to do periodic maintenance on top of what government does.”
By Basil Okoth