Wundanyi sub-county in Taita-Taveta County is set to benefit from the construction of the tarmacked road project in the region after the government launched a Sh2.1 billion road that will link the hilly constituency to the neighbouring Mwatate sub-county.
The historic 54-kilometer road will snake through the mountainous region, cutting through several rural villages and link thousands of daily and crop farmers to market for their products.
Speaking during the official launch of the road, Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development James Macharia said the Mto Mwagodi-Dawida-Mbale-Wundanyi-Bura Road is the only road in the country that is wholly funded by the government without donor support.
Stecol Power China won the contract for the project that will run for three years. “Today is a historic day. The government is here to fulfil the promise made to the people on improving their roads,” said the CS.
He added that the project would spur development in the region in addition to promoting economic activities like livestock and crop farming for farmers living in the highlands.
Since independence, Wundanyi sub-county has only been served by less than 10-kilometers of tarmac roads. These were largely done by agencies like Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA). The absence of roads was complicated by the hilly terrain of the region and the risk of landslides whenever it rained.
The new road will ease mobility and improve transportation for the local residents. “We expect this road to impact positively on your lives. We hope it will help farmers get to the market faster and help the sick get to the hospitals on time,” he added.
The CS was accompanied by Transport Principal Secretary (PS) Prof Paul Maringa, KERRA Ag. Director General Philemon Kandie, MPs Stanley Muthama, Lamu West; Andrew Mwadime, Mwatate; Jones Mlolwa, Voi. The County Commissioner Rhoda Onyancha and her security team were also present.
The CS further cited the area MP for consistently following up with relevant stakeholders to ensure the project was delivered.
“The MP has been in my office several times asking about this project. He has been following up with the Parliamentary committee on roads and KERRA offices asking that money be allocated for his people. We are here because his persistence paid off,” the CS admitted amidst cheers from the public.
Wundanyi MP Danson Mwashako thanked the government for the project and promised to wholly support the contractor.
He also asked that the project should utilize locally available material from the residents as a way of having the money. “We are grateful and we request that material like sand and rocks can be sourced locally from residents. We want to assist in any way we can,” he said.
The MP further disclosed that the national government has been providing funding for construction of four-kilometre worth of concrete slabs on slippery roads to enhance motor vehicle manoeuvrability.
“Our roads become impassable because of the hilly terrain. The national government has been helping us construct slabs to allow movement of vehicles,” he said.
Elated residents who had turned up in their hundreds termed the project as a game changer.
Ms. Beatrice Mwemba, a resident of Wundanyi, said she was delighted that the government had fulfilled the road promise. She called for a speedy completion in the construction of the road before the start of the rains.
“I thank the government and our MP because he has been pushing for this good initiative. We will ask them to consider us for employment on the site,” she added.
Mwashako faulted leaders who were taking credit for the project that the government had worked to deliver. He asked the residents to avoid being misled over who brought the project.
“The president promised and he had delivered. We are waiting for him to tell us where we should move to and we will heed his words,” he said.
By Maureen Nyakerario