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Leaders: Use Sh30b on Kitui-Kibwezi-Isiolo Road

EASTERN
By By PAUL MUTUA | May 21st 2014

By PAUL MUTUA

Kitui County leaders have said it is high time the national government prioritised tarmacking of the Kitui-Kibwezi-Isiolo Road and factored it in the 2014/2015 financial year.

The leaders said the Government should allocate at least Sh30 billion to ensure that work on the 508km stretch starts immediately.

 Speaking during the Parliamentary Budget and Appropriations Committee’s public hearing at Kitui’s Multipurpose Training Institute yesterday, the leaders said previous governments lacked commitment to tarmack the road.

 The residents also want the Government to allocate Sh1.4 billion for rehabilitation of the stalled Umaa Dam that is expected to fight poverty and address lack of clean drinking water in the region.

The county’s Finance Minister Simon Mundu told the session chaired by Samburu MP Nelson Gaichuhie that Vision 2030 aspires to have a country with graded and firmly interconnected transport and communication infrastructures.

The minister said attainment of this vision as well as the Millennium Development Goals will depend heavily on the road network quality

IMPORTANT ROAD

“This neglected road is key to our people’s livelihoods. It is also part of an international highway that holds the key to unlocking the economic potential of Kitui County,” Mundu said.

He said the road would provide an easy link to Tana River County, help boost tourism, mineral exploitation and transportation of agricultural produce, and link the region to the Mombasa port.

Speaker after speaker said the controversial road has a long history with the Government dating back four decades.

“There should be no excuse here. The commercial contract for the Kitui-Kibwezi road was approved by the Kenya National Highways Authority Board in February 2011 and forwarded to Exim Bank of China (EBC) through Treasury. The tarmacking project should therefore not be delayed,” said Athi River Ward Representative Peter Kilonzo.

MASS ACTION

Mr Kilonzo said the road, if done, would help ease traffic on the northern corridor that runs from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kampala, hence speeding up trade in the region.

The MCA said residents have waited too long for implementation of the project. He warned that residents might be forced to take mass action if tarmacking of the crucial stretch was not included in the next financial year.

“It is envisaged that development of this route will help solve Ethiopia’s import problems and at the same time bring business opportunities, employment and increased economic prosperity to the country as a whole, as well as counties where the road passes through,” Kilonzo said.

Gaichuhie, who was accompanied by committee members Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), Daniel Nanok (Turkana West), Muriuki Njagagua (Mbeere South) and Tiyah Galgalo (Isiolo County Woman Representative) had earlier visited Kitui Deputy Governor Peninah Malonza and County Commissioner Moffat Kangi in their respective offices.

Gaichuhie said the committee has taken recommendations made by residents seriously, adding that the views will guide the national government in allocating equitable resources for the next financial year.

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