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33 years without road, West Pokot residents raise funds for construction

By Irissheel Shanzu | August 16th 2021
A vehicle navigates through a damaged road section along Sigor-Lomut road in West Pokot County. [Kevin Tunoi, Standard]]

Residents of Solion in West Pokot have raised funds to construct a 10-kilometre road to enable them access schools, hospitals and markets. Every Saturday, locals join hands to construct Tamkal-Solion road, and they have so far managed to cover seven kilometres out of 10kms.

The women make their contribution by cooking for the men who are involved in the road construction. They also supply water used in the construction and for the men to quench their thirst as they give a hand.

The area has not had an access road between Tamkal and Solion locations for the past 33 years, with locals saying the opening of the road will help learners access Solion Secondary School.

Area chief Emmanuel Chesta spearheaded resource mobilisation, where residents contributed Sh200,000 for the construction of the road.

Speaking to The Standard, Chesta lauded the residents’ efforts to fix the road in a bid to bring services closer.

“Schools here don’t have an examination centre. Learners have to travel to Tamkal. There is no road to help deliver the exams, but we are hopeful that after we finish constructing the road, candidates will sit their exams in their respective schools,” he said.

The sub-location has 8,000 people with six schools, but all candidates have been trekking 10 kilometres to Tamkal Primary School to sit their exams.

He said the area around Kamolkon Forest was riddled with insecurity as police could not reach the area owing to a lack of access road.

He castigated local leaders for not being supportive to efforts to build a road. “The leaders managing the ward development fund and CDF should wake up and shift focus to such areas,” he said.

Benjamin Lourien, the Kale Primary School headteacher, said the road will enable students joining Solion Secondary school to reach the learning institution safely.

He said it will also enable the government to make Solion Secondary School an examination centre.

“The candidates are used to travelling over 10kms to Tamkal for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education for the last 33 years,” he said.

He said the remaining three kilometres will require slabbing as they continue raising more funds.

“We require sand, cement, ballast and other materials. We want to ensure the road can be used by a vehicle or motorcycle,” he said.

Richard Rimoo said even accessing health facilities is hard and no vehicle could reach in time in case of an emergency. “We have been forced to improvise our way of carrying the dead or the sick. Even motorcycles can’t reach the place. We combine efforts to carry the sick on our backs for them to reach Tamkal Dispensary for treatment,” he said.

He said the many years of suffering motivated them to pool resources and construct the road.

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