• Politicians have been using the road as their campaign tool for decades
• Traders say they expect businesses to improve and benefit the more than 5,000 people who trade in the market
A key road used by traders in Makongeni estate, Thika, has been tarmacked.
It has been in deplorable condition for decades and politicians have been using the road as a campaign tool during the electioneering period only to forget the promise once they are elected.
The Madaraka market road links Garissa Road to Kamenu estate through the market. The road is part of the Sh1.5 billion Thika bypass being constructed by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority in the area.
“We have suffered long enough due to the pitiable state of the road. During rainy seasons, we hardly sell anything because the market is rendered inaccessible. During dry seasons, we are choked by the dust emanating from the road,” trader Susan Mumbi, who sells vegetables at the market, said on Monday.
Traders said politicians have been giving them false promises to construct the road that leads to the biggest open-air market in Kiambu county.
They said former MPs Stephen Ndichu (now the speaker of the Kiambu county assembly), William Kabogo, who was later elected the first Kiambu Governor, the late George Thuo and the immediate former lawmaker Alice Ng’ang’a had promised to tarmac the road but their terms ended without fulfilling their promise.
Traders spoke to the Star when they joined MP Patrick Wainaina during the commissioning of the newly tarmacked road.
They said they expect businesses to improve and benefit the more than 5,000 people who trade in the market.
“Customers who bypassed us and went to buy items in other markets due to the deplorable condition of the road will now come back,” cereals trader Margaret Mwihaki said.
The market serves traders and customers from Kiambu, Murang’a, Kitui, Machakos and Garissa counties.
Boda boda riders and transporters have also welcomed the new development, saying they will no longer incur huge costs to repair their motorbikes and vehicles.
MP Wainaina said 20km of the Thika bypass have been tarmacked. He said link roads including Broadway-Athena-Corner Four-Engen-BAT-Kiganjo have been completed.
“We are elated that the government is assisting Thika, which is an industrial hub for Kiambu county and the country at large, regain its status of the Birmingham of Kenya. These roads will not only benefit residents, but will also attract more investors who will contribute towards the growth of our economy and create more jobs for our youths,” Wainaina said.
“We’ve ensured that the contractors did their work as per the required standards to ensure durability.”
The MP, however, urged the Kiambu government to set aside funds to put up a modern market in the area.
“The county government must now play its part and build a state-of-the-art market here. The market helps Thika contribute 60 per cent of the county’s revenue. Traders require better services,” he said.