NIGHTMARE FOR RESIDENTS

Matatu operators protest over sorry state of Kasarani-Mwiki road

Residents forced to brace the morning rain as they walked long distances to Roysambu for public transport.

In Summary

• Every time there is a protest, authorities have moved in to repair the road, but after a few months, the road would go back to the previous state.

• This has turned into a nightmare for motorists and pedestrians alike from the never-ending traffic jam even during off-peak hours.

Section of Mwiki-Kasarani road the contractor hasn’t repaired.
Section of Mwiki-Kasarani road the contractor hasn’t repaired.
Image: EZEKIEL AMING’A

Huge misshapen potholes filled with rainwater decorate the two-kilometre stretch from Hunters to Mwiki in Kasarani subcounty. 

On Monday, tired of regular breakdowns from the pathetic road, matatu operators blocked all the routes leading to Thika Superhighway. 

Residents were forced to brace the morning rain as they walked long distances to Roysambu where they boarded matatus from other areas.

 
 

The Kasarani-Mwiki road's condition has been the cause of many protests since the days of the defunct city council administration.

The road serves hundreds of thousands of residents living in Kasarani constituency.

Every time there is a protest, authorities have moved in to repair the road, but after a few months, the road would go back to the previous state.

This has turned into a nightmare for motorists and pedestrians alike from the never-ending traffic jam even during off-peak hours.

Jessica Omwaka, a resident of Mwiki Phase 3 for four years is now planning to move.

“Next month, I have to move. This road is a nightmare! It doesn't matter where, just as long as it is not on this route. I am tired,” she said.

The distance from the CBD to Kasarani stadium is approximately 17km and takes about 15 minutes during off-peak and about 25 during peak hours.

 
 

The headache, however, begins when one exits from Thika Road to the Kasarani–Mwiki road.

The five-kilometre distance takes at least an hour to cover, usually with matatus overlapping to beat the traffic.

It gets even worse in the evenings as the residents wait for vehicles stuck in the traffic for hours and scramble for the available one.

“The stage is at Bebabeba but we wait for the matatus at Koja roundabout. You might wait for hours if you waited at the designated place since the few vehicles come already full,” Mercy Sigona, a resident, said.

Sigona said that traffic jams are guaranteed on the route even on Sundays. 

The Nairobi county government under Evans Kidero used Sh500 million to repair the road but after only a few months, the residents were back planting bananas in the big potholes in protest.

Governor Mike Sonko’s administration also repaired the road after a protest, but not much changed.

County Secretary Leboo Morintat said the road is under the purview of the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA).

“Kura is responsible for the Kasarani-Mwiki road. It is time the road is repaired once and for all,” he said.

Kura communications boss John Cheboi said they are aware that the road is in pathetic condition, but it was not in their repair plans.

He said they had asked for funds from the Treasury for the job.

Residents are hopeful that the authorities will act, even though they know it is just a matter of time before matatu operators are protesting again. 

“Every pothole capable of causing an accident or damage needs to be fixed quickly so it no longer represents a danger to road users. However, empty talk reigns here,” Matthews Otieno said.