The Tana River County Development Implementation Committee (CDICC) has asked the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to terminate one of the contracts awarded for the construction of the Hola-Madogo road.
The committee lamented that the contractor carrying out emergency improvement of the section of the road between the Nanigih junction and the Bura turn-off had exceeded the contract timelines and should not be allowed to continue with the project.
The contractor, M/S Al Wahab Enterprises Limited, was awarded the tender last year after the first contract that had been awarded to M/S Wama Contractors was cancelled following a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta due delays.
However, the new contractor seems not to have learnt from what befell the former one and has been executing the work at a snails speed, achieving only 37 percent of the works despite applying for and being granted two extensions of the contract.
Engineers at a DCICC meeting in the Tana River County Commissioner’s board room Monday said the North Coast KeNHA regional office had asked the Director of Road Assets and Corridor Management at KeNHA Headquarters to terminate the contract since the contractor was too slow.
This was the second time within one month the committee had summoned KeNHA officials over the progress of works along the road.
“We have already issued the contractor with a notice of slow progress and requested the engineer in charge to terminate the contract. However, the contractor is in contact with the director in Nairobi seeking another extension,” Eng. Edwin Mambo, who was representing the regional director, North Eastern Region said.
But the committee, led by County Commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio, said it was not prudent to continue with the contractor and called for a replacement.
Members said the road had caused a lot of inconveniences to motorists, adding that water melon farmers within the Bura Irrigation and Settlement Scheme had lost close to Sh120 million in the past one year after transporters stopped using the road.
The entire road had been divided into four contacts: Madogo-Ambares (37 kilometers), Ambares-Nanigih (35 kilometers), Nanigih-Bura (19 kilometers) and Bura-Hola (37 kilometers).
According to Eng. Mambo, the first two contracts had been completed although there were pending works that arose when some culverts were washed away by floods last year.
He said the contractor handling the 37 kilometre road starting ten kilometers from Bura Town to Hola turn-off had completed 31 kilometers and had applied for an extension to complete the remaining six.
County commissioner Oning’oi ole Sosio said the road was important as it was a link between the port of Mombasa and the North Eastern region.
He said farmers had lost a lot of revenue when motorists and travellers, including government officials, had been inconvenienced due to the poor state of the road.
“The irony is that those overseeing the construction of the road are based in North Easter region and may not be knowing what we are going through,” he said adding, “It is the wearer of the show who knows where it is pinching.”
He said the committee would visit the entire road in its next sitting to ascertain the progress of all the contracts and suggest a way forward to the regional committee.
Members at the same time heaped blame on the National Construction Authority (NCA), which they said was licencing contractors who did not have enough capacity.
“Some of the contractors are over-rated, because on the ground we have seen that they do not have the capacity to undertake the works they are licenced to do,” Bura Irrigation Scheme Manager Felix Shiundu said.
By Emmanuel Masha