Stalled projects haunt DP pledge to Mt Kenya

Friday, May 7th, 2021 00:00 |
Deputy President William Ruto, accompanied by Garissa Governor Ali Korane (left) and Garissa Township MP Aden Duale when he launched a water project in the area on December 10, 2018. Photo/PD/FILE

Deputy President William Ruto’s economic blueprint deal with his allies from Mt Kenya region ahead of the 2022 elections has run into headwinds, because of myriad stalled projects, which he commissioned.

Yesterday, a section of leaders from the region dismissed as a “pipe dream” the economic pact entered between Ruto and his allies, accusing the DP of attempting to “hijack” on-going State projects for personal gain.

Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria told Central Kenya people not to expect much from the blueprint that sets out to address cash crop issues and economic empowerment among others.  

 Wa Iria also dismissed as irrelevant the leaders, who claimed to be negotiating on behalf of the region, saying they had not consulted Wanjiku.

“We cannot have leaders already in power promising our people better lives in future yet they are doing nothing to improve their lives,” said the governor.

He demanded that the DP first accounts for the myriad projects he either commissioned or pledged to initiate before promising to revive the region’s economic fortunes.

Takes advantage

“They should tell residents what happened to the numerous projects he purported to commission across the region but which do not exist on the ground before telling us about an economic blueprint,” said Wa Iria.

Similarly, the Mt Kenya MCAs Caucus chairman Charles Mwangi claimed that Ruto and his allies have been taking advantage of projects initiated by the national government to purport to have lobbied for these works, which he said amounts to insubordination.  

Mwangi, the Ichagaki Ward Rep said the DP was setting a bad example  that has been picked up by some MPs and other local leaders, who take credit for Government projects.

“Just like Ruto, we have seen some people rushing to own projects initiated by the National government, which amounts to what we say in Kikuyu ‘gukama na thaara weene (milking your cow using another person’s grass)” said Mwangi.  

 However, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, a close ally of the DP, dismissed this as the “work of the deep state” and declined to comment further on the matter.

 Soon after the 2017 elections which handed the Jubilee administration a second term in office, Ruto embarked on a flurry of countrywide tours in which he announced and launched numerous projects running into billions of shillings.

 On January 13, 2018, for instance, at a funeral in Githunguri, Kiambu, the DP announced that Karimenu Dam will be constructed in Gatundu North at a cost of Sh24 billion.

 The same day he announced work would soon start on three other dams in Kiambu, Ruiru, Lari, and Kinare.

A week later, on February 7, 2018, Ruto also “launched” the construction of Gatukuyu-Mataara Road in Gatundu North.

 Ruto’s critics, however, maintain that the dam, whose construction is ongoing, is a Government project, as are the two roads, and accuse the DP of portraying them as personal initiatives to gain political favour in the region ahead of the 2022 General Election.

The Gatukuyu-Mataara road was ongoing when the DP launched it, say the critics, and is almost complete.

On February 23, 2018, Ruto again launched construction of Karatina University access road in Nyeri. 

Come April 7, 2018 and the DP was back in the region to announce the construction of Thiba Mega Dam in Kirinyaga.  

He also pledged that work would soon commence on upgrading the Kirinyaga water and sewerage system, and that Ngurubani town would soon be a 24-hour economy. 

 Works on the access roads started but stalled after only quarter of the 15-kilometer road had been done.

Currently, about 60 per cent of the road upgrading project is complete and to be officially commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta. The water and sewage system is not yet upgraded and Ngurubani is not yet a 24-hour economy.

Ruto is also on the spot over the rehabilitation of the 47km Ruiru-Githunguri-Uplands Road in Kiambu, which he commissioned on June 24, 2018 and promised he would be back in two weeks to launch construction of Githunguri-Kagwe-Kimende road. 

Rehabilitation of the Ruiru-Uplands road stalled after only five kilometers had been done, while work on the Githunguri-Kimende road is yet to begin.

Public library

 On August 18, 2018, at the homecoming party of Gichugu MP Gichimu Githinji, the DP promised to have a public library built at Kianyaga market in Kirinyaga.

Work on the project never commenced and no public library was ever constructed at the market.

On February 3, 2019, the DP showed up in Nyandarua to inaugurate the Sh100 million Karaguini-Leshau water project funded by the government. The function aborted under unexplained circumstances. To date none of the projects has seen the light of the day.

 On October 8, 2018 the DP while on a tour of Meru county, announced Thanantu-Mulika road would be tarmacked and that Miathene-Mikinduri road would be re-carpeted. Work on the two road projects stopped as soon as it began.

Outside the Mt Kenya region, the DP is also on the spot over the tarmacking of Longisa-Sigor road and work on the Sh22 billion Bosto water project, which he announced on February 16, 2018 at the Silibwet Stadium in Bomet county. No work has commenced on both projects yet. 

In February, the DP was caught up in an embarrassing situation after he “inaugurated” a police station and a chief’s camp in Lunga Lunga sub-county, Kwale county in a function that was given a wide berth by the local administration and officials from the Interior ministry.

Kwale County Commissioner Joseph Kanyari distanced the government from the two projects, saying no State officials have been deployed to the offices because they have not been gazetted as is required by the law.”

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