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State rejects 20km per constituency roads plan

By Lee Mwiti | Published Sat, July 14th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 13th 2018 at 23:27 GMT +3
Kivandini-Masinga road is at a poor state after it was wash away due poor infrastructure on 16th January 2018.The upgraded road does not meet the standards of Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

The Government has rejected a resolution by Parliament dictating that in every financial year, every constituency must have at least 20km of its roads paved to bitumen standards.

According to Parliament’s committee on implementation, the resolution, which was passed in 2013, was to ensure uniformity across the country where all constituencies benefit equally from the Treasury’s road kitty.

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“To bring equality and economic integration, to bring impoverished and marginalised communities into the national fold, the State through its agencies KenHA, KERRA and KURA must in every financial year upgrade a minimum of 20 kilometres of roads in each constituency to Bitumen level to enhance road network,” the resolution reads.

It was supposed to last 10 years.

“In the past, there used to happen a situation where some constituencies in some areas benefited more because of political patronage. Others that were dimmed unfriendly to the regime got nothing. This is why we passed this resolution,” Committee Chair Richard Moitalel said.

Demanding answers from Infrastructure Principal Secretary Julius Korir, the committee wanted to know why the Government has back-tracked on adopting the resolution and adopted a different method of paving rural roads.

Mr Korir, who was appearing before the committee on Wednesday, explained that it was impractical to continue working under such terms.

“We consulted with Treasury during budgeting and realised that adopting the resolution would be a waste of taxpayers’ money,” said Korir.

Main highways

“This is because a constituency can have a 100km road that leads to some interior place that has no much economic value. If you pave 20km of such a road, you leave it hanging somewhere where no one is benefiting from it. That is why we adopted a different method that we call network approach,” he told MPs.

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Korir explained that the network approach entails instead of paving roads in each particular constituency, the State pin-points roads that interlink constituencies and counties to the main highways and paves them.

For example, instead of paving a single 20km road in Narok or Kajiado counties, the Transport ministry decided to pave a 59-kilometre Ngong-Kibiko-Kimuka-Ewuaso Enkidong-Suswa Road that eventually links both counties to Nairobi.

According to data from the Ministry of Transport, in 2013, the road network in the country stood at 160,886 kilometres. Of these, only 11, 189 kilometres were paved.

As of July 3, 2018, 136 contracts at a cost of Sh371.5 billion covering 5,663 kilometres had been procured and awarded to local and international contractors.   


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