Matatu operators plying the Murang’a Kiria-ini route yesterday morning paralysed transport operations after blocking the road to protest against its dilapidated state.
The operators from MTN, Namukika, 2NK and Nakonns saccos said they want the government to stop spot patching potholes along the road and instead recarpet it.
They said the government has disbursed funds towards the rehabilitation of the road but contractors only fill the patches.
Last month, Deputy President William Ruto announced the government had set aside Sh700 million for the road.
Shortly afterwards, the Ministry of Roads floated a tender for routine maintenance of the 30-km road.
The motorists lamented that they have had to contend with the numerous potholes for close to a decade and demanded for its complete reconstruction.
Peter Gatawa, a matatu operator, wondered why Sh700 million is being used to refill potholes when it could be used to recarpet it. He said motorists are forced to dig deeper into their pockets for spares of parts which require changing every few days due to the potholes.
He said the alternative short route takes hours as motorists are forced to drive slowly and end up consuming more fuel. “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 operator said.
He said many accidents have occurred on the road as drivers try to maneuver to avoid hitting potholes as passengers complained the road had become a nightmare for the sick.
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 who was working on the road demanding to know which construction company he worked for.
The police, however, managed to quell the protestors as Murang’a East OCPD Janet Wasige pledged to consult with the resident roads engineer to know his terms of engagement.
walk for km
She said until then, the construction equipment the worker was using would be held at Murang’a police station. Wasige then urged the operators to unblock the road.
Passengers were forced to alight from their vehicles and walk for kilometres to Murang’a town as the matatu operators protested.