Murkomen: Why it will take long to repair damaged roads

Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen says it will take time to repair roads destroyed by the ravaging floods, owing to budget constraints.

Speaking on Citizen TV on Tuesday night, Murkomen stated that infrastructure projects require massive financial input that the exchequer might not immediately afford.

“The country is going through a difficult moment. We are spending Sh1.3 trillion to pay debts, Sh1.2 trillion to pay wages, and another Sh400 billion to pay county governments. That’s Sh3 trillion against the Sh2.8 trillion we raise as a country…As a nation we must live within our means,” he said.

The Cabinet Secretary however stated that repair on essential road crossings would be redone promptly.

“Once the rains subside, we will fix the infrastructure to the best of our ability, based on our resources. Remember, we have pending bills of up to Sh160b. As a CS, I will be lying to the public to say that suddenly we’ll be building all the roads,” he said.

The flooding situation has hindered transport in select areas across the country after sections of some roads were swept away, prompting the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) to effect temporary closures.

The flooding at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and the leaking roofs at its terminals have become a major pain point for Murkomen, who blames ‘hyperbolic reporting’ for intense criticism over his handling of the situation.

The Transport CS has defended the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) over accusations of mismanagement of the region's aviation hub saying that he has full confidence in the authority as it has stabilised JKIA’s electricity supply and is building a new arrival terminal to supplement terminals 1C and 1E.

“Since we came to the airport, we’ve done immensely well. We’ve put up a maintenance policy, sort of power blackouts problem, for the first time since 2014 we are building a new terminal on top of terminal 1C and decommissioning terminal 1E which has been an embarrassment to this country,” he added.

He said that his ministry is in the process of assessing the damage suffered by transport infrastructure countrywide, and will quantify the same in financial terms.