Residents Kathwana in Tharaka-Nithi Wednesday are demonstrating over a statement made by Deputy President William Ruto which appeared to suggest the national government does not recognise the town as the county’s headquarters.
They barricaded Mati road and asked the deputy president to clarify the statement he made during a fundraiser at Kaare Secondary School in Maara Constituency last week.
They have also vowed to vote for the Opposition in 2017 saying the Jubilee administration has neglected them.
“We are assuring Raila Odinga that Tharaka will be his stronghold in 2017 and he is welcome any day,” said Julius Mutegi, a resident.
During his visit, Mr Ruto said the government has funded many projects in the county including Sh370 million tarmac roads in Chuka Town.
“We allocated Sh300 million for tarmacking Chuka Town which is your county headquarters and we have added Sh70 million to make sure that the town looks like a city,” said Mr Ruto.
Some local leaders, led by Governor Samuel Ragwa, his deputy Mati Murithi and MCAs have said Mr Ruto’s statement was a clear indication that the national government recognises Chuka Town as the county headquarters.
MOVE PROJECTS FROM CHUKA
The locals have also demanded that all the projects established in Chuka Town, among them, the High Court, Huduma Centre, fibre optic cable and stadium be moved to Kathwana.
Igambang’ombe MCA Albano Kiania said 400 delegates drown from the three constituencies had agreed that the headquarters be at Kathwana before the 2017 elections.
The issue is also breeding animosity between residents of Tharaka and those of Chuka/Igambang’ombe, with the former claiming that they are being side-lined in development projects.
Kathwana market was considered the appropriate location for the county headquarters because it is convenient to people from all constituencies.
In April, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the County Governments (Amendment) Act which designates towns where county headquarters will be based.
This sealed the fate of Kathwana Town as Tharaka-Nithi County headquarters and not Chuka.