Thika residents are living in fear after street lights along the busy Kenyatta Highway were uprooted by a contractor working on part of a multi-million beautification project funded by the Kiambu County Government.
The residents who included religious leaders, boda boda operators and businessmen faulted the move of uprooting all the street lights erected 2 years ago by the previous regime without providing an alternative lighting system exposing them to attacks by criminals.
Pastor Joseph Kariuki of the Springs of Life Ministry church said uprooting of street lights has worsened insecurity within section 9 and 10 estates with muggers having a field day every evening.
“Motorists are being mugged daily along the stretch while women walking along the busy streets have lost their bags and valuables to criminals who are roaming the area freely,” he said
The busy street that borders the prestigious section 9 and 10 estates, Chania estate and the sprawling Kiandutu slums serves as the entry to Thika town and has major business centers such as Tuskys Chania Supermarket, Thika Motor Dealers, Coconut Grill hotel, Gertrude Hospital and several banking institutions.
The residents are now calling on the Kiambu County Government to prioritise development projects and embrace public participation in their development endeavours and stop wasting public funds by ruining development projects done by previous regimes.
The Angry members of the public questioned the criteria used by the area County Government to fund the massive beautification project of a roundabout within Thika town which they claimed had been designed and beatified by the previous regime under the department of Environment at a cost of close to 25 million shillings 2 years ago.
“The County Government has embarked on several money siphoning projects while totally ignoring what is important to the public, access roads are impassable, garbage has piled up in all the estates, drainage systems have clogged and yet they are not attending to such but embarking on money wastage in irrelevant projects,” lamented Pastor Kariuki.
However, contacted for comment Kiambu County Chief Officer in-charge of roads, public works and utilities Luka Wahinya pointed out that the beautification project is a project by the County Environment Department and is scheduled to take less than 2 weeks to relocate the lights and modify the roundabout.
He regretted the inconveniences caused to the members of the public and the business community in the area and promised to personally oversee the fast tracking of the entire project so that the street lights are reinstated as soon as possible.
Wahinya was also apologetic that public awareness was ignored before implementation of the beautification project and called for patience as the contractor embarks on the modification which he said will only take 2 weeks.
By Lucy Wangai