A month after President William Ruto commissioned the tarring of 65km of Ongata-Rongai urban roads in Kajiado County, Acacia Estate Residents’ Association staged a demonstration over the stalled project.
The residents said the start of the project was good news for people who use and live along the Olekasasi-Rimbo road after years of suffering from dust.
However, the road, which was supposed to be 6 kilometres long, stopped after 2.6 kilometres, leaving the residents worried about the state of the project.
Staged a protest
On Tuesday, the residents staged a protest calling on the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) to allow the Chinese contractor to complete the road without frustration.
According to the association’s chairman, Robert Momanyi, the road was first commissioned by the previous regime of Uhuru Kenyatta who brought in the China Civil Construction Company to do the job.
They said the Chinese company was inconsistent on the ground, coming and going after the first layer was laid.
By 2019, the road was ready for the top layer, which is tarmac, but the contractor left the site due to lack of payment from the government.
Residents are now calling on the president to honour his promises, as their children are at risk of dust-related illnesses.
“There are more than 30 schools along this road and the recent eye clinic revealed that many children are affected by the dust, just like me, I can’t see clearly without the use of glasses,” said Mr Momanyi.
Earlier in the day, residents fought a running battle with police officers who disrupted their planned demonstration, saying they were not allowed to organise a protest.
The residents also claimed that the contractor pulled out of the site 96 hours after the President left the area, leaving not even a single piece of equipment to give the residents hope.
“The President came here to launch the road and they did only 2.6 kilometers from Masai Lodge to Manna. After that, as the President announced the construction of this road through Nazarine University to Rimba to be tarmacked, they left.”
“We decided to stage this protests to tell the President that the road that you launched has stopped and if possible bring back the Chinese company to complete this road.”
One of the resident members by the name Julius Ongaro said that they have gone to the office of KeRRA Director General Philemon Kandie over the same issue but they have not been attended to.
Thy have also raised the matter with the area MCA and MP Ngogoyo Onesmus who promised them to follow the matter within the short time.
However, they feel that after the contractor pulled road construction equipment from the site, the chances of completing the road is minimal.
“Resident Engineer Mbogori had told me that they will be coming back this week, but when I talk to the Regional Director Engineer Mogambi, he told that he do not know when they will come back,” Mr Ongaro said.
When the President was commissioning the project, he said that the completion has taken too long due to lack of commitment from the contractor.
The anti-riot police officers who were patrolling the area since 6am were disrupting any small gatherings along the road, saying that the protest was illegal.
Business people operating along the Olekasasi-Rimba road said that their businesses have suffered loses as well.
Gerald Ngatia Maina, who is a Jua Kali artisan said that he has lost a number of his customers who usually leave after realizing that his products have gathered dusts.
Boda boda operators said that they have also been affected with the dusts and they are being forced to take their motorbikes for services frequently.
In a phone call with the Daily Nation, resident engineer Mbogori said that the project has not stopped, and they are going on with other job in the site, including construction of drainage system.
Engineer Mbogori said that in the next one or two weeks, the contractor will be back.
The attempts to reach out to the area MP who the residents have accused of frustrating their planned peaceful demonstrations by encountering them with goons who lit bonfires along the road, attracting the wrath of the police.
Source : Nation