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Protest held over poor conditions of Kijabe road.

CENTRAL
By Kamau Maichuhie | February 1st 2016
Residents of Kijabe demonstrating on Saturday over the pathetic nature of Gichiengo-Kijabe road.

Several people were on Saturday injured and had to be rushed to hospital during a demonstration by residents of Kijabe in Lari who were protesting against the poor condition of Gichiengo-Kijabe road.

 Police were forced to lob teargas at the irate residents who had blocked the busy Nairobi-Nakuru highway causing a huge traffic snarl-up.

 Locals had been enraged by one contractor who they said had refused to commence the road construction even after being awarded the tender in 2014.

 The construction of the seven kilometer Sh240 million road which is being funded jointly by the French and Kenyan governments was due to be completed on December 2015.

 They gave the contractor an ultimatum to commence the construction works within a week saying the poor state of the road was no longer a laughing matter.

 Muchiri Karegwa a resident said it only takes 45 minutes from Nairobi to Gichiengo but took more than an hour from there to Kijabe which is only 7kilometers stretch.

 "We are demanding to know why the contractor has not come on the ground one year after being awarded the contract. We are calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in order to end the sufferings of the locals," said Mr Karegwa.

 Area MP Mburu Kahangara who joined the locals in the demonstration called on Kenya Rural and Urban Roads Authority (KeRRA) to intervene in order to alleviate suffering by the locals.

 The MP appealed to the residents to stay calm promising to get to the root bottom of the matter as to why the contractor was yet to commence the construction work.

 "I have talked to the contractor and he has said he is in the process of mobilizing the equipment for the road construction and has promised to be on the ground next week," said Mr Kahangara.

Locals alleged two people who were being taken to Kijabe Mission hospital for emergency treatment in ambulances died as they took a long time to reach the hospital due to the poor road network.

Matatu and bodaboda operators plying Kimende-Kijabe route said the business had become untenable since their vehicles and motorbikes were often breaking down due to the bad road.

"We have to visit a garage at-least twice a week which is expensive to us. We are calling on the relevant authorities to urgently ensure the road is constructed to avert any further losses," said Peter Njuguna a matatu operator.

 The story is no different for a section of residents who are farmers who said the pathetic state of the road had led to them incurring huge losses.

 "Our farm produce is going bad and to waste in the farms since transporters have refused to come here complaining about the poor road network," said Nancy Wanjiku a horticulture farmer.

Efforts to get a comment  from the contractor and KeRRA regional manager were futile as their phones went unanswered.

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