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Meru MCAs oppose Sh531m deal with roads agency

 Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza. [Courtesy]

Meru Governor Kawira Mwangaza has handed Sh531 million road projects to the Mechanical and Transport Fund (MTF) that is domiciled at the Ministry of Roads and Transport.

The move has drawn protests from the County Assembly, with MCAs arguing that the road projects should have been given to local contractors.

Mwangaza said the decision to entrust the projects to MTF was because the agency had enough equipment for road development.

“We have decided to partner with the national government to improve roads that have been destroyed by heavy rains because they have the experience of building roads,” she said.

Mwangaza said during the last financial year, the administration worked with MTF and discovered it was cheaper compared to local contractors.

No loss

“Where the contractors spent Sh10 million, MTF is spending Sh2 million. We are not losing anything by giving projects to MTF,” said the governor.

She said the devolved unit had spent more money on roads done by local contractors in the last financial year but MTF offered a better option.

Out of Sh531 million, road opening, grading and murraming will take Sh336 million while Sh195 million will be spent on tarmac roads.

“We are going to start doing tarmac roads. We cannot tarmac everywhere at once but we have to start from somewhere. If we do 10 or 15 tarmac roads, it means we will not do those roads again for the next 20 years. But if we do the murraming, grading, and opening, we shall continue repeating the same thing every year,” she said.

The county boss said during the last financial year, her administration gave MTF Sh90 million 'to gauge their capacity to deliver' and MTF did 215km of the road network.

Oversight role 

She welcomed MCAs to play their role of oversight over the road projects. 

MTF Chief Mechanical Engineer Richard Thitai said they will give value for the money.

“The reason why we can do (roads) in the cheapest way is because the fee we charge is just to repair and maintain our equipment. Our salary is paid by the national government,” he said.

However, the MCAs have protested the move to hand the projects that will cover the 45 wards to MTF.

They have established a committee to investigate projects done by MTF in the previous financial years.

Minority Leader Mwenda Ithili claimed under MTF, there were persistent delays, inequity and alleged cases of discrimination in the implementation of road projects.

Kianjai MCA Ken Naibae and Benson Kirinya (nominated) said it was against the spirit of devolution to give the contract to MTF. 

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