Billions-shilling worth road, a shame to Naivasha, nation

Wednesday, December 4th, 2019 00:00 |
Part of dilapidated Moi South Lake Road in Naivasha, Nakuru county. Photo/PD/Kirera Mwiti

Termed as the bedrock of Nakuru county’s economy, this road has, for years, been neglected, leaving businessmen, motorists and other users to incur huge losses.

Potholes have turn into craters, motorists are seething in anger and leaders point accusing fingers at each other as the status of Moi South Lake Road continue to worsen every day.

Arguably Kenya’s most important road due to its economic value and the number of key persons who use it daily, the road has now turned into ‘the shame of the nation’.

To sum it up, one Robert Kimani in a social media post, said ‘In Kenya people drive on the left, on Moi South Lake Road, motorists drive on what is left.’

The road heads to Lake Naivasha, Oserian Two Lakes Industrial Park, over 60 major hotels, several game ranches and 80 per cent of Kenya’s floricultural farms.

However, since 2017, its condition has deteriorated, making investors, mainly in the flower sector, threaten to relocate because of losses incurred.

Among the complainants is chairman Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Naivasha branch Stephen Thuo, who terms the road a shame to the government that rakes in billions from investments around Naivasha.

 He explains that the association has, for years, engaged various stakeholders and the government on the need to rehabilitate the road, but in vain.

 “The governments earn billions every year from the geothermal power, tourists and flower farms, but no one is interested in the road,” he says. 

 Businesses are not the only ones feeling the pain. The mwanainchi has been forced to dig deeper in their pockets after matatu operators increased their fare by Sh50 to meet the cost of repair and maintenance of their vehicles.

 Already the number of visitors has been affected. “We are heading to Christmas and New Year’s Day festivities and many of our customers are shying away from visiting hotels located along this road and its time the ministry of transport addressed this major problem,” chief executive Crayfish Hotel Peter Mehta says.

The rehabilitation of the road is marred with intrigues, backhand deals and kickbacks, with government officers accused for the current woes.

In the last financial year, Sh400m was set aside for its rehabilitation and a contractor identified, only for the contract to be cancelled in the last minute after the figures were lowered to Sh300m.

Two months ago another tender was cancelled on allegations there was an error in the opening process. In October, Transport CS James Macharia released a statement that they have found a contractor to embark on rehabilitation.

Nothing has been done since then or even after residents staged a two-day demonstration paralysing activities, calling on government’s intervention.

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui says the road lies under the national government and should be rehabilitated as soon as possible.

“We have raised the issue with the President and the CS concerned as this is one road that rakes in billions of shillings every year and hence the need to maintain it every now and then,” he says.

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