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ELDERS SLAUGHTER BULL

Song and dance as first Enopogh road opened

Residents marvel at the 'breakthrough' marked by a feast

In Summary

• Several county leaders witnessed the momentous occasion

• It will now be easy to move across four wards — Chepareria, Batei, Sook and Endough

 

Enopogh residents in West Pokot county have welcomed the creation of a new road that opens up the region for easy access to other areas.

The road connects Ortum to Kriich via Chekomos and Empogh. For many years, travelling had been a nightmare for residents due to the steep hillsides that form the area's landscape.

On Monday, residents sang and danced as Governor John Lonyangapuo commissioned the road. They marvelled at the 'breakthrough'. It was marked by a feast after elders slaughtered a bull.

Several county leaders witnessed the momentous occasion. It will now be easy to move across four wards — Chepareria, Batei, Sook and Endough. Residents expect trade to boom.

Peter Alkor said they have been staying in the region without a road and this has hampered the movement of people and goods.

“Many people in this region don’t even know where the county headquarters is. We had no means of transport to travel over 150 kilometres to Kapenguria,” he said.

Alkor said the road will enable them to access markets and expand their farming acreage.

“This region is fertile, but we have been farming just for home consumption since we have no place to sell the surplus,” he said.

Governor Lonyangapuo urged the Commission for Revenue Allocation to review the criteria used to allocate funds to devolved units. He said marginalised counties grapple with many problems and the current formula does not work in their favour.

“The National Treasury and the Commission for Revenue Allocation don’t know the challenges these counties face. The allocations we get are not enough to cater for most devolved units,” he said.

He cited underfunding of the roads sector as an impediment to growth and a hindrance to service delivery. The county chief said they need adequate funds to improve road networks and maintain them.

“This road is less than 30 kilometres. We have allocated over Sh20 million since the place is hilly. We have a big rock that needs over Sh10 million to be blasted so we can connect this area to other regions,” he said.

Lonyangapuo said they have invested heavily in the road to enable residents to exploit their agricultural potential. The area is densely populated. Most adults do not even have national ID cards. The governor blamed this on their inability to access services. Registration offices are 150km away.

“Many people cannot travel to county headquarters to get the vital document due to lack of means of transport,” he said, adding that it is shameful has been the case 56 years after Independence.

Roads executive Augustine Monges said farmers will use the road to ferry their produce to Ortum market.

“This region is fertile and residents have been selling their produce at throwaway prices because of lack of road. The road will also enable farmers to sell their produce to arid regions of the county. This is one of our major food baskets,” he said.

“Transporting construction materials to this region has been expensive. That’s why this region has no police posts, health facilities and schools among other social facilities. Residents have been using donkeys and porters to transport materials to the region.”

(Edited by F'Orieny)