Siaya County government is the first in Nyanza region and the 14th in the entire country to launch the County Physical and Land Use Plan spanning the 2023 – 2033 period.
The plan is a strategic vision that defines the general trend and direction on the use of space in the county to guide development and facilitate transformation of lives of citizens.
Speaking during the launch Thursday evening, governor James Orengo underscored that the plan is in simulation with other existing regulations such as the County Government Act (2012), the Sustainable Development Goals, the Urban and Cities Act and the Physical Planning Act (Cap 286).
“Today we are in a celebratory mood because Siaya is leading from the front. The plan is a master plan that will guide development, of course, together with our Nyalore manifesto and others like the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) and the Yala Delta Land Use Plan,” Orengo said.
The plan is expected to bring order in the use of space in various urban centers, water bodies and will only be amendable after five years if need arises.
Orengo said that, together with Busia county, they have both approved the Yala Deta Land Use Plan thus setting a stage for its sustainable and profitable use.
Meanwhile, Orengo revisited the emotive Yala Swamp lease issue urging the Kenya National Lands Commission (NLC) to review their 2022 determination which gave a private investor over 16,000 acres to till for 66 years.
Orengo said that the decision remains contraversial as the county government of Siaya that holds the land in trust of the community is also not benefiting from the rent.
“The lease should have been in the hands of the county government of Siaya. What happened in this case is that the land was leased in the hands of the national government which should not be the case,” he said.
As such, the governor noted that the county lost “a premium and annual rent of over 70 million to national government”.
The county chief said that the NLC decision has dwarfed his administration’s attempts t maximize Own Source Revenue collection yet the swamp is the county’s ” jewel”.
Equally, the governor wants NLC to review the decision to encompass the interests of Alego, Yimbo and Usonga communities that have since been aggrieved.
“Communities living in the periphery were given a raw deal. We want demarcations to be done for the communities to have their interests clearly defined within the Yala Delta”.
He gave an example of ” the 82 families” that NLC apportioned a chunk of the swamp during the same time that the private investor was allocated land.
The 82 families, Orengo noted, were allocated land right inside the river course and that they do not have the capacity to dredge the land for settlement and other activities.
The Yala Swamp is divided into settlement, conservation and investment areas.