Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Chimwaga Mongo has decried the slow pace at which the 87-kilometre stretch of Kisiriri – Mau Narok – Njoro highway was being constructed.
Mongo who spoke when he led the Regional Implementation Committee in assessing and monitoring the project, castigated the contractor for having done only 25 percent of work, 21 months after the construction was launched.
“We are here to confirm that the contractor adheres to the laid down timelines and that he does a quality job. Now we are concerned that 21 months out of the 30 months timeline period set, the work completed is only 25 percent,” he said.
Mongo who was accompanied by officers from the Presidential Delivery Unit, Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), National Land Commission (NLC) and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), asked the contractor to write a work plan on how he intends to complete the remaining work, within the set timeline and hand it over to the government.
The Commissioner also put on notice, residents who had encroached on to the road reserve, saying they risked being evicted forcibly.
“Some traders have built kiosks on the road side while others have extended their fences on the road reserve. They should be warned that these will be destroyed to create room for an expansive road,” he said.
At the same time, Mongo called on officials from Kenya Power to work closely with the contractor and relocate the posts that are on the road reserve.
“We do not want any more excuses; the construction of this road should be completed within the set timelines. All government officials should play their role to ensure there is no obstacle towards its completion,” he said.
The construction of the road to bitumen standards was launched by President Kenyatta in July 2017 and was expected to be completed 30 months later.
Its completion will be a big plus to the residents in the food rich area that borders Maasai Mau forest as they will transport their produce to the market with ease.
“We used to sell our farm produce only one way in Narok town. After the completion of the road, it will be easy to move to Nakuru and other towns to sell our goods,” said Monica Morgan a farmer in Kisiriri.
Morgan who owns 20 acres of land in which she plants maize, potatoes, beans and vegetables said for many years, farmers had been incurring losses because of impassable roads, especially during rainy seasons, forcing their produce to rot in the shambas.
She expressed optimism that the construction of the road will open up way to many vehicles using the highway hence most of their produce will be sold to the road users.
Residents of Mau area have in the past held demonstrations to pressure the government to build the road but their cry mostly fell on deaf ears.
Politicians campaigning to be elected in office mostly took advantage of the road where they promised to prioritise it, once they get in office, but they did very little upon ascendance to power.
Olokruto, Ololopil and Oposumuru wards that are in the Narok Mau region where the road is passing, are the main food baskets of the county as the area experiences rain throughout the year.
By Ann Salaton