Concern raised as vandals descend on Outer Ring Road

Guard rails have been removed, exposing the public to risk.

In Summary
  • The road was dualled by Chinese firm, Sino Hydro Tianjin Engineering Limited, at a cost of Sh8.5 billion and launched in 2015.
  • The immediate former President Kenyatta launched the dualling of the road in January 2015. 
Vandalised drainage covers along Outering Road, Nairobi, on October 9, 2022.
VANDALISM: Vandalised drainage covers along Outering Road, Nairobi, on October 9, 2022.

Metal scrap dealers have descended on the Sh8.5 billion Outer Ring Road, making away with major road furniture.

Guard rails have been removed in sections of the 13-kilometre road, exposing members of the public to risk.

The road was dualled by Chinese firm, Sino Hydro Tianjin Engineering Limited, at a cost of Sh8.5 billion and launched in 2015.

The immediate former President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the dualling of the road, which was funded by the African Development Bank and the national government, in January 2015. 

For example, all guard rails have been removed near Ngong Road River.

“I woke up in the morning only to find out that the guard rails are gone,” a trader near the Ngong River who requested anonymity told the Star.

The situation is replicated in various sections of the road.

Near Mutindwa market, a metallic electric pole has not been spared.

George Mweu, a resident of Donholm estate, said the destruction of road furniture adds more problems to road users.

“The design of the road was poorly done. We have to go all the way to Tajmall to access some of the residential areas,” he said.

Kenya Urban Roads Authority chief corporate communication officer John Cheboi confirmed that they have been having the challenge of vandalism of key road infrastructure.

“We have a dedicated security patrolling key road infrastructure,” Cheboi said in a phone interview, adding that streetlights would be enhanced. 

He said that the authority hopes that the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit will help to secure the road furniture.

The Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority is implementing the much-awaited BRT. 

Cheboi urged Nairobi residents to report those vandalising key road furniture, saying doing so would help the government safeguard her resources.

He at the same time urged the residents to make use of such infrastructure as footbridges in order to reduce road accidents.

Early this year, Uhuru announced a moratorium on scrap metal trade in the country as part of government efforts to end the rising cases of vandalism of key public installations.

He said the moratorium would stay in place until after the government puts in place adequate measures to effectively police the sourcing, trade and export of scrap metal.

Uhuru warned that those found culpable of vandalism of state infrastructure would be dealt with firmly.

While referring to the recent vandalism of electricity transmission infrastructure, the Standard Gauge Railway and communication masts, the then President termed the acts as economic sabotage, saying the government would tolerate the destruction.

 “The law is clear. These acts are nothing less than economic sabotage, which falls under treasonable acts and the law is clear as to how we deal with treasonable acts," he said.

"We will not allow you to destroy that which is for the growth and development of our country to benefit a few individual pockets."

The vandalism of the key road furniture comes even as the Outer Ring Road is named by authorities as Nairobi's most dangerous road.

National Transport and Safety Authority said, despite the start of the dualling of the road, it has recorded the highest number of road accidents so far this year.

Recent statistics by NTSA show that the road recorded 37 accidents from January to October 31 this year, followed by Thika Super Highway with 34.

Pedestrians have been evading using the footbridges, with many risking their lives attempting to cross the road.

Concerns have been raised that hawkers have completely invaded some of the footbridges in Nairobi, making it almost impossible to utilise them.

In March this year, the state issued new guidelines on how scrap metal dealers would be registered.

All scrap metal dealers would have to seek fresh licensing by the Scrap Metal Council under new regulations being fine-tuned by the Office of the Attorney General.

The regulations, which are derived from the Ministry of Trade and stakeholders’ recommendations on the control of the sector blamed for encouraging the vandalism of critical infrastructure, also propose separate and special vetting of all copper dealers.

Only the government-owned Numerical Machining Complex would be allowed to buy scrap metal disposed of critical national infrastructure, such as roads and railways, under the regulations that are a prerequisite for the lifting of the moratorium on scrap metal trade announced by President Kenyatta on January 20 this year. 

Licensing of scrap metal dealers to start under new regulations attended by the scrap metal dealers and regulatory agencies in the sector warned that the lifting of the moratorium would be pegged on compliance with the new regulations.


(edited by Amol Awuor)

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