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IRRITANTS

Signposts indicating stalled projects a national shame

They are mere PR tools to manage our expectations.

In Summary

• Why should an MCA mount a signpost to inform us s/he is putting murram on a road? 

The Sh2 million Kirwa footbridge at Chemagel in Sotik, Bomet county, which was the subject of fierce public criticism over its standards last month, forcing the National Construction Authority to order its demolition. Its ramps, which had been built using bricks, were demolished on Monday night by unknown people.
The Sh2 million Kirwa footbridge at Chemagel in Sotik, Bomet county, which was the subject of fierce public criticism over its standards last month, forcing the National Construction Authority to order its demolition. Its ramps, which had been built using bricks, were demolished on Monday night by unknown people.
Image: FELIX KIPKEMOI

Everywhere you turn, there seems to be a stalled project—signposts with photos of governors alongside the area MCA at strategic places giving credit to the gracious financiers.

That is where the excitement ends. There is little to show for the signposts, they are mere public relations tools to manage our expectations. The only active projects are those funded by NG-CDF.

These signposts are an irritant, remain there from one electoral term to another. They end up becoming a menace to road users. What purpose do they serve? Nothing. They simply massage egos of self-serving leaders.

Why should an MCA mount a signpost to inform us s/he is putting murram on a road? Laughable!

Site offices, tractors and heavy machines are lying idly. The next time you will see contractors, supervisors and some activity on site will be in 2022 as the general election nears. For now, Kenyans are contending with poor or delayed services and inconveniences that come with unfinished projects.

The SGR was completed a record six months before deadline. Why should simple projects exceed their deadlines by years at the expense of taxpayers? There are too many projects but very little development. No sooner is one project launched that another one is initiated. They end up cannibalising each other.

Projects are in themselves forms of mega corruption. Cartels initiate projects in the name of helping residents but with the motive to embezzle funds. That is why most projects either stall or don’t start in the first place.

The many levels of governance have partly contributed to this sad state of affairs. Each leader is competing to launch his/her project. The county and the national governments are in competition instead of collaboration, with each trying to sabotage the other.

Take, for instance, the special lane on Thika Superhighway. When this project was launched both the national government and the Nairobi County government wanted to take credit for it.

Months later road users are yet to benefit from this hurriedly launched project yet public money was spent on it. What was the purpose of this special lane?

Motorists and other road users were greatly inconvenienced when the road was being marked. How unfortunate are Kenyans? Was it just ornamental?

Another pitiful example is the Nairobi Regeneration project. It was launched with pomp and colour with both Nairobi county and the national government.

Apart from crudely demolishing buildings, this project has not returned any revenue on investment. It was a sham. Guys getting paid to sooth our emotions. Eventually, it will be forgotten.

Projects are in themselves forms of mega corruption. Cartels initiate projects in the name of helping residents but with the motive to embezzle funds. That is why most projects either stall or don’t start in the first place.

Project managers like myself will tell you that a project has five phases: planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and termination.

Planning is critical and it comes first, meaning at this stage there is feasibility study and budgetary allocation to ensure that the project realises its logical end.

Conmen and women collude with project managers to stall projects so they can embezzle funds. They thus abandon it halfway.

A brilliant project that could have helped millions of Kenyans is sabotaged to fail. The NYS is one such project. The mention of NYS makes me shudder. But I hear the NYS has been devolved.

The Meru government is modelling Meru Youth Service after the NYS. If only we could complete all the launched projects before embarking on new ones, it would save us a great deal.

MA student