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Farmers upbeat with the road now under construction

A  Mugumo (fig) tree at the centre of the on-going construction of the Kianyaga – Githure road has forced the contractor to abandon a section of the work to pave way for removal of the tree

The contractor  who had partly dealt with the tree almost felling it was stopped by the members of the community, claiming a cleansing ceremony must be conducted before the tree is finally removed.

The  Kirinyaga East Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Moses Gicharu confirmed that plans were on to organise a ceremony where elders would carry out the traditional ceremony before the tree is brought down.

“We are in the process of getting in touch with our elders who will be involved in the ceremony,” Gicharu said.

He said the ritual would be carried out as soon as possible so as not to interfere with the road works construction.

Recently, a similar ceremony was carried out at Kerugoya town by Kikuyu elders at the site where a Mugumo tree fell down to ward off any bad omen striking the area.

The cleansing ritual was performed by a team of Kikuyu elders (Kiama Kia Ma), from Nakuru and Kirinyaga Counties.

The  ritual which is normally performed between 9:00am and noon was presided over by the Chief Priest, Kigoci Wamiru, assisted by his Kirinyaga Counterpart, Kinyua wa Mwangi.

It involves the piercing of a ram with a sharp object to drain the blood which is channeled into a calabash and later sprinkled round the fig tree.

The meat from the entire ram is then carried by the elders and scattered around the tree.

A fire is then lit on which all the meat starting from the internal organs, followed by other body parts is burnt to ashes.

Meanwhile, the construction of the stalled Kutus-Kianyaga-Githure road has started after President Uhuru Kenyatta intervened when he attended Governor Anne Mumbi’s traditional wedding at Kiamugumo village.

The Head of State, while attending the wedding on July 13, told the gathering that the project was a gift to the area residents who had suffered due to the poor roads since independence.

Kenyatta  first ordered the road to be tarmacked after his convoy got stuck in the mud for several hours while on his way to attend the home coming ceremony of Mumbi who had just been named the Devolution Cabinet Secretary on July 6, 2014.

A  contractor moved to the site the following year but was only able to tarmac nine kilometres from Kutus town to Kianyaga market and left due to unexplained challenges, according to Kenyatta.

While attending the wedding, Kenyatta assured the area residents that a new contractor had been sought and would be on the ground immediately.

“When I visited this place in 2014, I witnessed firsthand the suffering farmers go through due to the poor roads and promised them that this Sh1.5 billion project must be actualized this time round,” he told the guests at the high profile ceremony.

Mumbi, on the other hand, who later became the second Governor for Kirinyaga County said upon completion, the road would connect the outside world to the home of specialty coffee and tea.

“This road will connect Githure village with the neighbouring Embu County thereby opening up the area’s socio-economic activities between these two closely related communities,” she said.

Mumbi  thanked the national government for the project which would soon start changing the lifestyles of the residents.

James Muriuki, an Estate coffee farmer from Ngiriambu village through where the road passes said at last he has been assured his produce would no longer be delayed to get to the market come next year.

“Sometimes my vehicle gets stuck in the muddy sections of this road when fully loaded with parchment coffee to be delivered to the miller and you can understand the risks we face with such an amount of quality beans,” Muriuki said.

The new contractor from China has already started the major works which has seen the section between Kianyaga and Kiamutugu markets already cleared with murraming being undertaken.

The Gichugu MP, Gichimu Githinji said with the speed at which the contractor was moving, it would be possible the 26 kilometer road could be completed by early next year.

“This contractor only landed on site recently and you can see the distance that he has covered within that short time,” he said.

The facility which will connect farmers from all the five area Wards to the outside markets is expected to be a game changer in agricultural activities for the area.

Among the cash crops produced in the area, include tea, coffee, horticulture, bananas, avocados, dairy farming and the recently introduced flower farming within Nyagithuci village in Kabare Ward.

Kianyaga –Kamugunda road in the same constituency is under construction while Kutus-Kimunye road was tarmacked under the watch of retired President Mwai Kibaki.

By  Irungu Mwangi

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