A bridge in Kisii that collapsed in May last year as Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua and area Deputy Governor Joash Maangi were crossing has been washed away.
The bridge on the River Gucha, which was not repaired despite promises by the county, was destroyed yesterday by strong river currents after torrential rain battered the region.
Residents who spoke to The Standard said the bridge had been a vital lifeline for the community, adding that the county should seize the opportunity to build a better crossing.
“We have been forced to travel a long distance to reach Ogembo town since the bridge collapsed in May last year. We are appealing to governor Mutua and deputy governor Maangi to keep their promise,” said Mary Nyamoita, a resident.
Dr Mutua and Mr Maangi had been in the area to inspect county government projects when the mishap occurred.
Bomachoge Chache MP Alpha Miruka blamed officials in the county government for dragging their feet concerning prioritising repairs to the bridge.
Mr Miruka said the destroyed bridge serves thousands of Ogembo residents who have been forced to use longer routes to reach their destinations.
“Alfred Mutua and Joash Maangi escaped death narrowly when the bridge collapsed. I do not understand why the county government has not repaired it to date. I am concerned about that,” said Miruka in Kisii town.
While speaking to The Standard in July this year, Maangi urged residents to be patient and said the county government had set aside funds to repair it in this financial year.
The deputy governor said the bridge was constructed by the Ministry of Roads and Public Works in 2008 and that the county government had decided to fix it after receiving petitions from the public.
“Our people have not been able to cross the river using that section of the bridge since the accident happened. It is not our responsibility to do that but for the sake of our people we are going to ensure that it is in good condition for use soon,” said Maangi.
Kisii County Assembly Minority Leader James Ondari said the county government had allocated Sh3 million to fix the broken bridge, and that they had been waiting for the rains to stop so that construction could start.
Mr Ondari added that because the bridge had been washed away, the money set aside for repairs would not be enough. He said additional funds would be allocated in a supplementary budget next month to build a new bridge.
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