SORRY STATE

Gatundu North residents protest over stalled Sh1.5bn road project

Locals say less than 10km has been done, yet the two-year deadline lapses in February next year.

In Summary

• Deputy President William Ruto launched the construction of the 30km road in February last year, with works expected to be completed in two years.

• It is being constructed through the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA).

Igamba village residents demonstrate against the poor state of the stalled Sh1.5 billion Gatukuyu-Kairi-Mataara road.
Igamba village residents demonstrate against the poor state of the stalled Sh1.5 billion Gatukuyu-Kairi-Mataara road.
Image: JOHN KAMAU

Gatundu North residents have protested against the stalling of construction works on the Sh1.5 billion Gatukuyu-Kairi-Mataara road.

Deputy President William Ruto launched the construction of the 30km road in February last year, with works expected to be completed in two years. It is being constructed through the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA).

But the locals angered by the government and the contractor over the slow pace of the construction say less than 10km has been done, yet the two-year deadline lapses soon.

Carrying twigs and placards, irate residents barricaded the road at Igamba village with boulders and planted bananas in protest.

“When the Deputy President commissioned the construction of this road, he said that there was enough money to complete it in time,” Mukuha Kanja said.

Kanja said residents were being taken for a ride because the 10 kilometres that have been done is already full of potholes

“The contractor is doing a shoddy job and he’s compromising on quality so that he can loot from the project,” Mukuha added.

Residents said that road has been rendered impassable by the heavy rains that have been pounding the region. It has become difficult for the sick, transporters and farmers to use the road. 

“We are carrying our sick on our backs because when it’s raining not even a motorbike can pass through the road. We are suffering,” Margaret Muthoni said.

Resident hoped that the road would open up the region and boost its economy but those dreams have turned into a nightmare.

“We are struggling to take our farm products to the market. We are pleading with the relevant authorities to intervene,” Martin Mwangi said.

Matatu operators and motorcycle riders lamented that they have been incurring huge losses in repairs for damages occasioned by the deplorable state of the road. 

The locals also said that the poor state of the road has given thugs field day as they have been mugging and robbing pedestrians on their way home.

The protestors said that the local leaders, including the area MP Wanjiku Kibe, have kept silent over the situation of the road.  

“Our leaders have been using this road as their campaign tool and we suspect that they are delaying it so that they can ride on it in 2022,” Gregory Kimani said.

Reached for comment, Wanjiku told the Star via text message that construction has been delayed by the ongoing rains.

She called on the residents to be patient as she is following the project keenly with the contractor.

(edited by O. Owino)