A multimillion library project funded by the National Government Constituency Development Fund(NGCDF) in Voi Taita-Taveta County has stalled for more than three years as concerns continue to be raised on the amount of funds pumped into the white elephant.
There is also issue of public participation and if at all the project was a priority in the town.
The project is said to have cost Sh40m, an amount that some leaders feel is way above the project size.
“If you look at the building you will notice that it’s the size of three classrooms. If one classroom is
estimated to cost, at most, Sh 1.5m, then the whole project should not cost more that Sh 10m”, said Voi Kaloleni ward MCA Omar Ahmed.
The MCA lamented about CDF projects being run without the relevant committees being put in place as the law demands.
The project was undertaken by Mombasa Road General Suppliers of Box 63 Tausa.
When Taita-Taveta Express visited the site cows were grazing in the grass that has grown all over the compound while the project
signboard had been uprooted and discarded at the fence. It is claimed that the company is associated with the local MP.
Approached for comment the project contractor Simon Mutia dispelled the allegations that the project had come a cropper.
“Once funds are available we shall connect electricity to the building then hand over the project to the county government through the ministry of education and libraries” said Mutia.
He could not divulge the exact funds spent on the project but said it was slightly less than 40m.
“A similar project in Narok county cost Sh 80m so I see no reason why some people are saying the project cost was inflated” said Mutia.
However, the Narok library project is far much bigger than the Voi library and according to independent sources, the project in Narok is a three storey building compared to the Voi three roomed structure.
The chairman of Taita-Taveta Human Rights Watch Haji Mwakio said he had talked to an official from the Kenya National Library Services(KNLS) who confided in him that they had no funds to inject in the project in the next two years.
“The KNLS official said they had not been consulted concerning the Voi library project” said Mwakio.
A Voi resident Festus Mwanduka decried what he termed unfocussed leadership that did not take
development projects seriously.
“The Moi stadium is a key recreational facility whose upgrading has stalled and now the Voi library is joining the list of white elephant projects in Voi. This is unacceptable. This project will go along way in providing students and our youth a source of research and recreation and should be completed as soon as possible” he said.
The Taita-Taveta outgoing CEC for education and libraries Daniel Makoko said that the last time he enquired about the project he was told that funds were been sourced for putting up a perimeter wall around the building.
Makoko who was moved to the health docket a fortnight ago said he would forward the matter to the incoming CEC for education and libraries Dr Frank Mwangemi