Non-carcinogenic metals to restore the vandalised Nairobi Expressway

Vandalised Nairobi Expressway in Mlolongo, July 12, 2023. [Samson Wire, Standard]

It appears the “dilapidated” economy that Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua aka Riggy G claimed to have inherited last year - and so could ill afford to pay salaries for civil servants and rebates for sick Kenyans - has rebounded sooner than expected.

The reason for my optimism is the Nairobi Expressway, which was vandalised in last week’s anti-government protests, has been restored at supersonic speed.

If you have forgotten, Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen claimed it would cost a whopping $5 million (Sh700 million) to restore the metal grilles that had been yanked off by protesters, some of whom headed straight to scrap metal dealers with their cargo.

It's useful to convert available government resources to feed the hungry, which I understand is the underpinning philosophy of the Bottom-Up Transformative Economic Agenda.

Which is why I find it unnerving that the self-same government is responding to such forays by the youth with firepower. When did it become their business to protect the propertied class, over so-called “hustlers”?

But that’s not my problem. If some youngsters think highway robbery is a viable career path, and can dodge a bullet or two as they go about their work, one can only wish them well.

After all, why should they care for a road that, as a friend reminded me, they will never use in their lifetime?

What’s astounding is the alacrity with which the expressway has been fixed, given that it was characterised as a Deep State project, a veritable Special Purpose Vehicle for some well-heeled tendreprenuers to “eat” in retirement.

I guess Deep State is a fluid formulation and new ones have stepped in, so the gravy train goes on, and a steady trickle is expected to flow on during the ongoing repairs.

Given that some famished fellas were able to bring down a seemingly solid feature like the barricades along the Expressway, some solid chuma is needed.

For those who are wondering why some Sh700 million would be needed to fix the broken grilles, I have a hunch that the good men and women at the Transport Ministry will opt to use non-carcinogenic metal that was inaugurated in Bungoma county in the making of barrows that cost Sh500,000 each, some years back.

The reason for this choice is obvious. Given its high capacity to conduct heat, the metal’s temperature can be remotely controlled so that vandals could be scorched from afar using steam.

Non-carcinogenic metal is also easy to magnetise so that those daring enough to touch it will get stuck, so one could argue this is a security feature, at no cost at all to the taxpayer.

As for the flower pots that were smashed into smithereens, I understand some protesters would be reasonably infuriated at the sight of flowers being coaxed to grow, instead of Sukumawiki, the staple that hustlers desperately need to survive.

I don’t recall Sukumawiki being in the list of items that Prezzo Bill Ruto promised would enjoy lower prices within days of him getting into office, but kitunguu was certainly listed. Only that one can’t fry onion without the vegetables and oil.

Anyway, let’s get back on the gravy train that’s coursing on the expressway and away from the fluid politics of food.

I think it would make sense for the folks at Transport to consider importing cameras like those used by people who go to the moon. Such cameras can read not just cars’ registration details but also peer inside and confirm if those inside are bearing stones and other contraptions that could derail the gravy train.

This is not a vanity project. Continuing our tumbocrats eating ways should be considered a security issue and so the gravy train must run uninterrupted on the Nairobi Expressway, now and in the future.