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September 22, 2018

Matatu operators protest use of Sh700m to 'fill potholes' on Murang'a road

Matatu operators hold a road construction company worker hostage during a protest against the sorry state of Murang'a - Kiraini road on Monday, September 10, 2018. /ALICE WAITHERA
Matatu operators hold a road construction company worker hostage during a protest against the sorry state of Murang'a - Kiraini road on Monday, September 10, 2018. /ALICE WAITHERA

Matatu operators plying the Murang’a- Kiriaini road on Monday paralysed transport on the route in protests over the roads' dilapidated state.

The operators from MTN, Namukika, 2NK, and Nakonns saccos said they want the government to stop spot patching potholes on the road and instead re-carpet it.

They said the government has disbursed funds towards the rehabilitation of the road but contractors are only filling the potholes.

Last month, deputy president William Ruto announced that the government had set aside Sh700 million for the road.

Shortly afterward, the Ministry of Roads floated a tender for routine maintenance of the 30-km thoroughfare.

The motorists lamented that they have had to contend with the numerous potholes for close to a decade and demanded the roads' complete overhaul.

Peter Gatawa, a matatu operator, said it makes no sense that Sh700 million was being used to fix potholes when it could be used to re-carpet the road.

He said motorists are forced to dig deeper into their pockets for spare parts which wear out frequently owing to the sorry state of the road.

"If they will not reconstruct this road, let them not use the money to fill the potholes. We will continue paying local youths to fill them with soil," the irate operator said.

A woman narrated how her daughter-in-law almost gave birth in a matatu as she was being taken to Murang’a general hospital.

The motorists confronted a lone worker demanding to know which construction company he worked for. Police restored calm after the situation nearly turned ugly.

Murang’a East OCPD Janet Wasige pledged to consult with the resident roads engineer to know his terms of engagement with the contractor.

She said until then, the construction equipment that the worker was using would be held in Murang’a police station.

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