Residents of Gatanga Sub County in Murang’a have welcomed the national government’s plan to build a Sh30 billion road connecting four counties.
The road dubbed ‘Mau Mau road’ is designed to connect four counties, including Kiambu, Murang’a, Nyeri and Nyandarua.
During a public participation forum at Gatura Shopping centre on Monday, the residents said the road will help farmers to access wider markets for their produce in other parts of the country.
Led by their legislator, Eng. Joseph Nduati, Gatanga residents said the road will open trading opportunities with other areas of central Kenya and the expansive Rift Valley region.
However, they requested Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) which is spearheading the project to consider protecting the environment, especially wild animals at the Aberdare National park.
Nduati lauded the government for coming up with the project saying local residents who are mainly agriculturalists will benefit a lot from the road.
He noted that farmers from the region will now be able to access markets in counties within rift valley and even western parts of the country.
Nduati observed that the Mau Mau road will also incorporate rehabilitation of two local roads which have been dilapidated.
“Rehabilitation of the road connecting Gatura and Ndakaini will also been considered as the contractor will be doing the major road,” noted the MP.
During the forum, residents led by Francis Wainaina demanded that locals be considered for employment during construction of the road, noting that in the past they have been sidelined by some rogue contractors who sourced for labour outside the region.
“The road project is a blessing to the people of this region but this time we want our people to be given priority in job opportunities,” added Wainaina.
The Murang’a County Ecosystem Conservator, Denis Kerengo asked KeNHA to consider doing more tunneling especially along the Aberdare forest so as not to interfere with migration routes of animals.
Kerengo said conserving the wildlife would enhance tourism along the route, which will take up to 15 kilometres within the national park.
Speaking during the same occasion, area Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Okaka Etyang who was representing the County Commissioner said they will monitor the progress of the road so as to ensure it is completed at the stipulated time.
Through the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee, Etyang said they will be visiting the project more often to ensure progress of the road is not delayed.
The DCC who was accompanied by the Director of President’s Delivery Unit in charge of Murang’a and Kiambu Counties, Bancy Wamuyu, lauded the government for the project aimed to boost economic activities between central and rift valley regions.
The road is expected to include subsidiary roads from the interior making the length of the road network in the area to increase to about 540 kilometres.
Last month, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary, James Macharia visited the area with officials from KeNHA before the President Uhuru Kenyatta Commissions construction works late this month.
Macharia noted that the road will be in honour of Mau Mau fighters, adding that when finally constructed central region residents will access other parts of the country with much ease.
By Bernard Munyao/Joysera Maina