Goodies lined up as restive Central awaits Uhuru visit

President Uhuru Kenyatta commissions the construction of the 29km Kutus- Kianyaga-Kithure-Kibugu road in Kianyaga market, Kirinyaga County. (File, Standard)
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch mega projects during his planned visit to Mt Kenya region.

Although the date is not set yet, all indications on the ground are that the President could tour the region soon.

All State departments have been directed to prepare projects for commissioning by the President during the week-long visit, according to reliable sources.

Uhuru reportedly tasked senior government technocrats including Cabinet Secretaries to keep the Mt Kenya Parliamentary Group abreast with the progress of development projects.

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The President is concerned that the Tanga Tanga group allied to the Deputy President William Ruto was creating a perception that Mt Kenya was starved of development.

“It is good the President is coming because he needs to remind rent seekers in Tanga Tanga that he is still the region’s kingpin. He also needs to diffuse their alarmist politics of seclusion and underline Jubilee’s performance in the region,” said political analyst and Igembe North politician James Mithika.

The President’s tour comes at a time the DP has won loyalists from the region mainly first time MPs who have shown open defiance in Jubilee.

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Offer political direction

However Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua denied that legislators aligned to the DP would be losers or ‘intimidated’ by the President’s visit saying he was looking forward to engaging him on issues affecting coffee and tea sectors.

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“The President is my personal friend. We have worked together for 21 years. Nothing can intimidate his fanatic supporters and I’m sure he will be received like a king,” said Mr Gachagua.

Linford Mutembei of the Mt Kenya Youth Caucus said Uhuru’s visit was welcome as local leaders rely on him to offer political direction.

“I still see him coming with the DP alongside the main opposition leaders so there is no harm to any side of the political divide, though the two Jubilee principals may not necessarily speak in one voice,” said Mutembei.

Some projects likely to be launched have been inspected by Cabinet Secretaries James Macharia (Transport), Simon Chelugui (Water), Joe Mucheru (Information Communication) and Trade and Industry’s Peter Munya.

Mr Macharia has spoken several times about the commissioning of the Sh33 billion Kenol-Sagana-Marua dual carriageway now in procurement stage for consulting engineers and contractors. Mr Munya has hinted at laying of the foundation stone for the new KCC Igembe factory at Kangeta between September and October.

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Othaya Level Six hospital, which has gulped more than Sh1 billion, is also expected to be officially opened.

The hospital started operations after the recruitment of 527 staff and the President’s supporters in the region have said it will be a befitting honour to his predecessor especially after it was suggested that the facility be renamed Mwai Kibaki Teaching and Referral Hospital.

In his Kiambu backyard, Chelgui said the President is expected to launch the construction of the Sh24 billion Karemenu dam in Gatundu North.

The dam will supply water to Juja and Ruiru townships.

Key projects

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Other projects set for commissioning are Kwamaiko-Gathiru-ini Nyanduma road that cuts across Githunguri, Lari and Gatundu South constituencies and the Ndarugu River-Mangu road linking Juja and Gatundu North.

There are other roads under construction in the area including the 42km (Sh4.6 billion) Ruiru-Gitunguri-Uplands highway and the 26km (Sh2.4 billion) Githunguri-Kagwe-Kimende road.

Other projects are the Sh430 million Chaka modern market, revamped Nyaribo Airstrip, and the electronics manufacturing plant at the Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT).

Meru leaders are pushing for the launch of the Sh2.3 billion Meru town bypass, sewerage construction, the Maua town water supply project and road projects promised by the Jubilee government. A Kenya Urban Roads Authority project review delegation this week said the bypass is set for completion by December with 86 per cent weighted overall physical progress.

Area MP Rahim Dawood said the 21km project has been slowed by a pending bill of about Sh600 million.

The President is also expected to visit Igembe North represented by MP Maoka Maore who has remained steadfast in Jubilee.

Indications are that Uhuru may launch the Igembe North sub county headquarters and the Kaelo-Ndumuru-Kithetu-Mutuati road construction.

There is also push to include the Igembe North Water Supply project for commissioning.

In neighbouring Igembe Central where MP Kubai Kiringo is allied to Tanga Tanga, the President is expected to commission the Kangeta-Laare road.

[Additional reporting by Jacinta Mutura and Kamau Maichuhie]

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President Uhuru KenyattaMt Kenya regionTanga Tanga group