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ELECTION 2022

Macharia and Matiang'i mediate disputes over major road projects

COAST
By Patrick Beja | Apr 7th 2022 | 2 min read

Cabinet Secretary for Transport James Macharia [left] and his Interior and Coordination of the Government counterpart Fred Matiangi after addressing press at Uhuru na Kazi building in Mombasa yesterday. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Two Cabinet secretaries yesterday attended mediation talks to resolve legal disputes that have threatened to paralyse road projects worth billions of shillings in Mombasa County.

Transport CS James Macharia and his Interior counterpart Fred Matiang’i said they had made progress in settling disputes with stakeholders who have sued the government over design and compensation of key projects.

They expressed optimism that the cases challenging the upgrading of the Mombasa-Kwa Jomvu Road at a cost of Sh8.5 billion, and construction of Sh4.5 billion Makupa Bridge will be resolved out of court to avoid delays and penalties by contractors.

Speaking after a closed-door meeting with stakeholders, the National Land Commission and Kenya National Highways Authority officials at the Coast regional commissioner’s boardroom, Mr Macharia said they were about to reach a deal with litigants and their lawyers.

Mr Macharia said they decided to mediate the disputes because the delay to complete Lot 1 of the project from Mombasa to Kwa Jomvu will delay the start, which involves the dualling of 42 kilometres from Kwa Jomvu to Mariakani. The Kwa Jomvu-Mariakani expansion will be done at a cost of over Sh5 billion.

Judicial process

“We are here to ensure these projects are completed. We want the Changamwe interchange and the Makupa Bridge to be completed by June,” he said.

Dr Matiang’i said President Uhuru Kenyatta has encouraged mediation instead of depending on the judicial process, which takes longer and leads to project delays.

“We are very optimistic that by end of the day, these matters will have been resolved out of court. By going to court we end up losing a lot of money and cause the projects to delay. We have explained ourselves and it will be a win-win situation for us and the stakeholders,” he said.

Dr Matiang’i said the government had resolved similar disputes on the Dongo Kundu project, Standard Gauge Railway, and the Sagana-Mara Road.

Mr Macharia said the government was fast-tracking the expansion of Nyali Bridge-Mtwapa Road, and the Mtwapa-Kilifi Road to support tourism and other economic activities.

He said they will visit the proposed Sh35 billion Mwache Dam project in Kwale County today. Construction of the dam has been delayed since 2018 when the government signed a contract with the contractor.

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