- National Assembly Transport Committee chair David Pkosing has tabled the Kenya Roads (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
- The Bill seeks to amend section 13 and 14 of the Kenya Roads Act of 2007, on term of office of the director generals.
The push to extend the terms for Kenya National Highways Authorities, Kenya Urban Roads Authority and Kenya Rural Roads Authority bosses is gaining momentum.
In May, National Assembly Transport Committee chair David Pkosing (Pokot South MP) tabled the Kenya Roads (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
The Bill seeks to amend Section 13 and 14 of the Kenya Roads Act of 2007, on term of office of the directors general.
In the Bill, Pkosing seeks to extend terms of Kenha, Kura and Kerra bosses from the current three to five years similar to other parastatals such as Kenya Revenue Authority.
The current Act says that a director general shall serve for a maximum of two three-year terms.
Some Kenyans have supported Pkosing’s Bill, saying road projects take long to be completed, therefore, a three-year term is not enough for a director general.
In a written submission to the National Assembly, Osman Wako, a Tana River resident, said the position of the director general in the road authorities should be five years to allow the one in charge to finish the projects.
Wako cited mega road projects in the country: the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu-Port-South-Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project, the Sh27 billion Dongo Kundu by-pass project, the Sh59 billion Nairobi expressway among others.
“The position holder needs to be given more years so that they can finish the projects they have started,” said Wako.
According to Wako, the Lapsset corridor road network, which includes inter-regional highways from Lamu to Garsen, Lamu to Isiolo to Juba (South Sudan) and Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) cannot be completed within a three-year period.
“The Lapsset project starts from Lamu to Garissa to Isiolo all the way to South Sudan and Ethiopia and can take a minimum of about 10 years. These kinds of projects call for maximum attention from KeNHA boss,” he said.
In April this year, Kenha signed a Sh17 billion deal with a Chinese company, China Communication Construction Company for the construction of the 453km Lamu-Ijara-Garissa road.
The project is estimated to take up to 36 months. Kenha director general Peter Mundinia's term term is due to end this year after taking the job in 2015.
He has been credited with smooth implementation of mega projects in various parts of the country that are currently ongoing.
“This Bill has nothing or little to do with Mundinia, it only happens that his contract is coming to an end. He has not even expressed any interest, however, if he does, it will be good for the country because of the ongoing projects,” said Wako.
At the Coast, Kenha has several ongoing projects which include the Sh4.5 billion Makupa Bridge, the Mombasa-Moi Airport Road expansion, the Changamwe-Mariakani Road expansion, and Phase II of the Dongo Kundu bypass.
From July 10, Kenha has announced plans to close one-section of the Makupa Causeway to allow the construction of the bridge, which has been scheduled to take a year.
All traffic coming towards town has been diverted to the Nairobi-bound carriageway until the construction works are completed.
According to Wako’s submissions, the road projects take long during planning, sometimes more than three years, which is equivalent to the one-term tenure of a director general.
“Therefore, if a DG in an authority was to take three years, his or her vision or capability will not have been seen or tested in such a short time,” argued Wako.
He said the period for all national and county government officials is a five-year term, therefore the changes in Pkosing’s Bill, are within the provision of the 2010 Constitution.
“We should align the DG’s contract period with the current government and commissions’ tenure because adequate time is required for any meaningful contribution from such appointed officers,” he added.
Wako said Kura director general Cyrus Kinoti—who was appointed last year— also has many ongoing projects, especially within the urban areas in most counties.
“There are roads being done in almost all counties, for example, Kura is working on some roads in Hola, which is Tana River county headquarters,” he said.
He said the projects under Kura have similarities with those under Kenha, albeit in different magnitude, but the bottom line is that the extension of term of director general at Kura is paramount for smooth running of the projects to completion.
Philemon Kandie, who is acting director general at Kerra, has a lot in his tray given that the roads in rural areas are almost impassable, said Wako.
“These roads are the main tributaries of people and goods to those under Kura and those under Kenha. The three roads agencies are interdependent in one way or the other and for these reasons I submit my memorandum to the National Assembly,” said Wako.
-Edited by SKanyara