On the slopes of Ombo Hills lie a ruin of a three story structure that was to serve as Migori provincial administration headquarters.
But nearly three decades later, the skeleton of what ought to have housed government offices still sits on forlornly like a dinosaur fossil and greying with age, locked on left by a government owned cypress forest atop the hill, private developers and government officers to the right.
A brainchild of the then internal security permanent Secretary the late Hezekia Oyugi launched in early 90’s as a legacy project, the dream to have the building served in his honor seemingly died with him.
Currently, the county commissioner’s office, and other government offices as lined up in refurbished post independent buildings spread along the roadside in a stretch running as one makes his way from the county government headquarters.
Despite earlier plans to have the project estimated to cost Sh 500 million revived, little has been done to complete the infrastructure that has remained an eyesore both to the public and the previous regimes.
In 2021, the then Limuru MP Peter Mwathi led the assembly Administration and Security Committee to visit the site , pumping a new life into the project.
Other committee members, who visited the project, were Homa Bay town MP Opondo Kaluma, Teso North MP Oku Kaunya and Suna West MP Peter Masara promised to table a supplementary budget to fast track the completion
“It is shameful for a project of such a magnitude to remain stalled all these years despite the government pumping resources to it. We will ensure that even the ground floor is completed and usable as we seek to finish the entire building.”Former Limuru MP Peter Mwathi
It emerged that Sh 200 million had earlier been allocated for phased construction but the committee was seeking to have the allocation raised to Sh 500 million for phased construction.
On November 2, nearly two years down the line, Migori County Commisioner Mr David Gitonga led a multi agency team from that office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary ona visit to the facility in renewed push to have the project completed.
The building, once completed, is expected to attract movement by citizens seeking government services as all offices will be centered at the facility.
“We are working closely with the national office in ensuring that work resumes immediately the money is allocated.”Migori County Commissioner David Gitonga
The team has pledged to table a report that will see a fresh allocation channeled to complete the building.
Mr Hezekiah Oyugi Ogango, then a former powerful PS who hailed from Rongo sub County is said to have pushed through the start of the project in early 90s but following his death, the project has turned into an eyesore for residents who witnessed its launch.
“The building was to headquarter the greater Southern Nyanza district which covered Homa Bay and Migori counties. The project launch was meant to seize power from Homa Bay town which was the then South Nyanza headquarter.”Elisha Otieno, journalist
His sentiments were shared by Mr Tom Rachuonyo, a seasoned Migori journalist who also covered the launch.
According to Mr Rachuponyo, the late Oyugi Ogango was accompanied by the then southern Nyanza district commissioner Cyrus Gitwayi when the groundbreaking exercise was conducted.
“It was a milestone project that would ensure all government departments are housed at a central place. It was the first government storey building in the entire region and an architectural masterpiece.”Tom Rachuonyo, veteran journalist
Claims of corruption, misappropriation of building funds, unpaid dues to contractors marred the progress and the death of Mr Oyugi culminated to an abrupt stalling of the project, leaving it at the mercy of wild animals that took refuge in the giant building.
“After the death of former Cabinet Secretary Robert Ouko which saw Mr Ogango being briefly jailed and his power weaning, the project followed him to the grave and stalled ever since,” said Rachuonyo.
Former Migori Mayor and Suna West MP Peter Masara said attempts by officials of the defunct Migori municipal council to have the construction completed and reverted to the council failed, forcing them to build other offices.
Even the county government tried to complete the building and have it house the county government headquarters but the efforts flopped due to bureaucracy issues.
“There have been several hurdles that have seen the project stall but with the handshake, we are upbeat that the project will come to fruition. That’s why we are keen on allocating funds for phased construction.”Suna West MP Peter Masara
Earlier in September 2021, former assembly committee chairman the late Kiambaa MP Paul Njoroge and the then Migori county commissioner Mr Boaz Cherutich led a delegation to the site, where it was reached that Sh 200 million would be pumped into the project.
“The committee had to visit the site on a physical assessment and recommend on the way forward, even if it meant reallocating funds for its completion since it is an eyesore has been an eye sore,” Mr Njoroge said then.