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Mashariki Television Networks Limited
By Eastern Newspaper Correspondent
Residents of Kathwana in Igambang’ombe sub-county, Chuka Igambang’ombe constituency, Tharaka Nithi County have appealed to the Kenya Prisons Service head to stop any attempts to relocate Kathwana Prison.
Mutegi Materi told The Eastern Newspaper, Kathwana prison is the only resourceful project for area locals and if relocated it will render many people jobless while rental premises will remain vacant.
“The prison sits at 54 acres of land which was owned by a family who are yet to be compensated. The land was taken away during former President Daniel Moi’s era and reserved for soil conservation where people were requested to plant trees but former President Mwai Kibaki established the prison there,” Mutegi said.
Mutegi said there is no market in the Kabarianga area, the new place where the governor is proposing the relocation of the prison. Governor Njuki said the prison is occupying prime land that the county government has earmarked for the construction of a Level Five hospital.
“I will relocate the prison, equip it with Television sets for inmates, and put the additional mattress to meet the rule of one prisoner, one mattress. We must expand the town and build a health facility here,” Njuki said.
Njuki said the county government is ready to donate land but it has no funds to build the prison at the new destination.
Meanwhile, despite boasting of a Sh38 million storey market built by Governor Muthomi Njuki in collaboration with development partners the town lacks the necessary amenities to serve traders in the market to satisfaction.
James Kiambi who has worked in the snail pace growing town said there are more than 500 traders who pay taxes while using the market and having to be served by only one toilet is like abuse.
He said the county government should prioritize the construction of various other facilities to transform the county headquarters.
Similar sentiments were shared by Marimanti traders who lamented that the Muthomi Njuki-led administration should now prioritize transforming Tharaka’s biggest town.
Njagi Mutembei a trader said the market construction was initiated by former area governor Samuel Mbae Ragwa but nothing much has been done by the current governor.
“We only have three latrines that must be shared between men and women. This is the biggest market in Tharaka. We do not have water. The market is cleaned every day by the county government but this is not enough because there is no drainage, exposing traders to waterborne as well as airborne diseases.