Murkomen warns motorists against driving through flooded roads

Roads and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen inspects the construction of a new bridge next to the Mbogolo bridge that was washed away by flood recently.[Courtesy]

Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has warned motorists against driving on flooded roads during the ongoing heavy rains.

Speaking during an assessment tour of Mbogolo bridge in Kilifi County which was recently swept away by floods, Murkomen said daredevil motorists who risk driving through flooded roads do not only put their lives in danger but also the lives of those aboard the vehicles.

“I want to put all our drivers on notice that should we find you crossing or having crossed a dangerously flooded road, we will cancel your license and even prefer charges of attempted suicide against you,” he warned.

“Do not be the reason why someone dies just because you want to rush to your next destination even when the roads are flooded. There is no hurry, you better be late for a week or even a month but save lives," he added.

The CS said that more than half of the deaths since October would have been avoided had motorists avoided the risk of crossing flooded roads.

He cautioned the spill-over effect on the residents of Garissa and Tana River would be dire, urging them to move to higher grounds.

“We fear the situation in the region may get worse if Masinga dam, which has been filling at 0.7 metres per day with about 7 metres remaining, is filled in the coming ten days due to continued rainfall,” he said.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Interior on Tuesday, a total of 120 people have lost their lives and 89,000 households displaced since the floods started in October.

He said there are ongoing efforts to ensure all roads are passable and transportation of people and goods returns to normal in the shortest time.

“We have been informed by the Metrological Department that the rains may subside in the next week before they resume in December. We will be taking advantage of the one-week window of little to no rains to carry out a full assessment of the damages caused and work on quick restoration of destroyed roads and bridges to enable the resumption of transportation in affected areas,” stated the CS.

Even as Kenyans clutch at the optimism exuded by Murkomen the restoration of roads and expansion of the road network in the country, questions linger on how the ministry will be able to achieve this arduous task with the drastic reduction in their budgets in this year’s supplementary budget and the colossal sums owed to contractors in the form of pending bills.

In his response when he appeared before the Senate last week, CS Murkomen said of the Ksh150 billion that the government owes contractors for work done, only Ksh17 billion had been paid so far with discussions ongoing between the government and development partners on ways of settling the remaining amount without adding onto Kenya’s burgeoning debt.