Kiambu feels the taste of power as state launches mega projects worth billions
By Kamau Maichuhie
| Feb 12th 2018 | 3 min read
NAIROBI, KENYA: The government has launched multi-billion projects in Kiambu.
The county is now the centre of massive development projects rolled out after years of what residents viewed as neglect by past regimes.
Kiambu is the only county that has produced two of Kenya’s four presidents - Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and his son, Uhuru Kenyatta. But pundits have claimed that there was little to show for this feat, with some accusing the Government of neglecting the region despite decades of loyal support.
“Despite the country’s founding father and the current president having come from the county, it has always lagged behind in development,” said Peter Njenga, a resident of Lari.
Large sections of the county have poor roads, no piped water, and generally suffer some of the highest poverty levels in the country.
This, however, is bound to change following massive development projects worth billions of shillings being rolled out in the region.
On January 13, while attending a funeral at Gathirui-ini in Githunguri constituency, Deputy President William Ruto announced that the Government would spend billions of shillings on water and road projects in the area.
Ruto said the State had set aside Sh50 billion to fund mega water projects in the county. Top on the list of the projects is the Sh24 billion Karemenu Dam in Gatundu North, whose construction is expected to begin next month.
The dam, which will take up 600 acres, is expected to be ready by December 2020.
In December last year, the Government started paying farmers who would be displaced by the construction of the dam, with Sh400 million set aside in the first phase of compensation.
The DP also announced that the Government was working on the Ruiru Two Dam in Githunguri that would cost Sh17 billion.
Two other dams are also to be put in Kinale in Lari Constituency and Gatundu South.
“The Government will work with local leaders to establish areas where we can initiate more water projects. Our intention is to make sure every homestead in the county has water,” said Mr Ruto.
Last week, the Deputy President commissioned the construction of the Sh1.5 billion Gakukuyu-Mataara road in Gatundu North and announced that at least 400 kilometres of roads in the county would be tarmacked.
Ruto said the construction of the 26-kilometre Githunguri-Kagwe-Kimende road, which cuts across Githunguri and Lari constituencies, was set to commence soon. He also announced that Sh800 million would be allocated for the rehabilitation of the 23-kilometre Kwamaiko-Marige-Gathiru-ini road in Githunguri.
“We will be back here in a few months with the President to launch other link road projects estimated to be fifty kilometres. We will be coming to commission them because we already have the money to fund their construction,” he said.
In September last year, the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) announced that in the next four years it would construct three major roads in the county totalling 124 kilometres.
The roads include the 47-kilometre Ruiru-Githunguri-Uplands road at a cost of Sh4 billion and the 25-kilometre James Gichuru-Rironi road to be constructed at a cost of Sh16 billion.
Also to be constructed is the 16-kilometre Western Bypass that will pass through Gitaru-Ndenderu-Wangige to Ruaka at a cost of Sh17 billion. The Western Bypass will join the Nairobi-Nakuru highway at Gitaru.
The construction of the Ruaka-Banana-Limuru-Thogoto-Gikambura-Mutarakwa road is going on.
In 2016, then Transport principal secretary James Macharia launched the construction of 80 kilometres of roads worth Sh5 billion in Gatundu South and Thika town constituencies.
Last year, the Government announced it had set aside Sh1.5 billion for construction of two bypasses in Thika.
Leaders in the region described the projects as ‘long-overdue’.
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