By Reuben Olita
The move by the Kenya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) to embark on re-tarmacking the Busia Malaba Road, a few months after the contractor who was awarded the contract left site has been welcomed by county residents and its leadership.
To avoid planned demonstrations from county residents on the poor workmanship on the road that developed potholes within a month of completion, KeNHA had to seek fuel levy funding to re-tarmac the road which is still ongoing.
On Wednesday, residents witnessed the re-tarmacking of the roadblock- Total petrol station loop which they said was an eye opener to contractors who do shoddy job at the expense of taxpayers funds.
” We are picking on bad spots first before embarking on the entire road to avoid inconviniencing motorists. We are moving to Malaba on Friday (tomorrow),” said a worker who was busy with the exercise at Busia roadblock.
A Busia stakeholder, Mr Kizito Echakara lauded KeNHA for hearing the plight of county residents who are great users of the road to undertake the recarpeting of the road, terming it the best news of the 21st century.
” Many accidents involving motorists and motorcycle riders have been witnessed on this very important road owing to the shoddy job by the contractor who had been awarded the contract,” he said.
Busia County border border chair, Erick Makokha said while lauding KeNHAS move said it’s a pity the road only lasted for seven months before KeNHAS intervention to have it recarpetrled.
He said the contractor who has been assigned the task is doing a perfect job and no doubt the road will now stand the test of time and it will boost trade between the two border towns.
In early Febbruary, 2019, Busia Governor, H.E Sospeter Ojaamong put KeNHA why the workmanship on the road and urged the contractor to up his game to give county residents value for money.
” My Government has undertaken the tarmacking of many roads within Busia and Malaba but they have been done to quality standards compared to this key road linking two major border towns,” he said, telling KeNHA to live up to its billing as a supervisor agency.
In October 2019, residents blocked the road claiming poor workmanship. Ang’orom MCA, Hon James Ong’ole decried poor quality of the tarmac road and wondered whether the contractor had requisite credentials to execute the task
In mid-December, 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the construction work on the road linking the two border towns of Busia and Malaba.
President Kenyatta said the road to be constructed at a cost of Ksh.1billion would open up the region besides linking residents of the county to the neighbouring Uganda.
Addressing wananchi at Adungosi grounds during the launch of the road, the President said the Government was not only committed to improving roads linking various parts of the country but also those linking countries together as well.
He said the Malaba-Busia and Malaba-Moding roads upon completion will ease movement of goods and services from within and outside the county and thus increase trading activities. “Our aim is to come up with projects that are beneficial to Kenyans.
A chinese contractor was awarded the Malaba- Angurai market, Angurai-Rwatama and Angurai to Kewalun. The exercise was completed at the stipulated time and with excellent workmanship that entailed construction of drainage system to control floods.
The local contractor who was given to tarmac the 28km Busia-Malaba road not only delayed the completion of the project by about two years but he did a shoddy job that earned fury of County leadership led by Busia Governor, H.E Sospeter Ojaamong.
Improved roads can increase opportunities for trade and investment,” said President Kenyatta, adding that no meaningful development would be achieved if there were no good roads.
Photos: Retarmacking of Busia Roadblock- Malaba road next to Total petrol station.