2017 POLITICS THE REASON BEHIND THIKA INFRASTRUCTURAL WOES

There has been so much hue and cry amongst the residents and motorist in Thika Town concerning the infrastructural developments within the town. The main bone of contention has been the slow pace and the haphazard manner in which road repairs and constructions have been undertaken.


Thika Town residents are unhappy over the delays in the completion of some of these roads especially Kenyatta Highway, which has been dragging on because of lax oversight from the government authorities responsible. These delays are causing businessmen to incur huge loses and inconveniencing so many people who use these roads. For instance, Kenyatta Highway sees an average 50,000 road users each day.


 
The situation is the same in majority of the other roads in the town. When it was announced that there would be major roads constructions and expansions all over the town, both by the county and the national governments, The news were greeted with so much enthusiasm by the residents. Their completion would be music to the people of Thika who have been suffering so much and wasting a lot of valuable time in traffic snarl-ups everyday.
 
The upgrade of this Sh221 million Kenyatta Highway to a dual carriage way was aimed at addressing the problem of traffic jam especially at the Gatitu entrance. Similarly, its expansion along the Munene-Kimathi-Pilot stretch that has cost the taxpayer, a cool Ksh.60 million, will mean so much to the residents of the lower parts of Thika.




There were also great plans to construct 25km Thika By-passes via the Kivulini, Kiganjo, Athena and Kiandutu areas and then linking with the Thika Superhighway. Vehicles coming from Garissa and some parts of Machakos will be expected to divert and use the anticipated Thika By-pass, thus reducing the congestion on the Thika-Garissa road.
 
Other roads that were scheduled for construction this financial year included the one linking Garissa Road at Metro-fil Petrol Station to the the above by-pass and the one crossing the Garissa Rd. Junction near Gatitu Petrol Station, that will link with the by-pass near the former Castle Breweries Plant.
 
All these roads were set to be constructed through the state’s annuity plan, in the national government's plan to build 3,000km of road across the country by 2017.
 
Then there was this other road under the county government that was supposed to pass through Nampak-Broadway-Matharao-Umoja, to join Garissa Road at Gacagi near Naivas Supermarket to ease traffic along Garissa Road.
 
But that all where the sweet narrative ends. The construction of Kenyatta Highway has since its inception has been a pain in the back for everyone. It is apparent that the contractors assigned to do Kenyatta Highway had prior instructions to buy time. As for the rest of the roads that were promised are just that, PROMISES.

It calls for no rocket science to put two and two together and understand that there is a political angle to these delays. Some people are just playing the 2017 politics using the projects at the expense of the common good of the residents and business people of Thika Town. When President Uhuru Kenyatta rolled out a plan to tarmac 10,000km of roads in five years, he intended to open up the business environment in all the corners of the country. He was quite aware of the impact good infrastructure in an economy of an area, Thika Town not excluded. Little did he know that he was surrounded by ravenous and voracious hyenas whose eyes were trained in the cash that was in this basket.

The implementation of these plans has been slowed down by contractors who want to make a kill and cash in on these projects. It has also been affected by the interference of the politicians who also want a 'bite' from the same, thus leading to inflation of costs. How else do you explain the failure of these contractors ever coming up with a permanent solution to this part of the road just at the railway crossing between Nampak and Jua Kali? Or the patching of potholes on roads like Kwame Nkrumah Road in the middle of the town using soil? Isn't this a joke?



 
But the worst lot of these are politicians who are using the projects as platforms to launch their 2017 re-election bids. I believe that is the case that applies to the Thika roads. These politicians are playing delaying tactics to ensure that the projects will drag up to sometime mid 2016 when campaigns will have started gaining momentum. At that time, they will augment their contribution to their completion by being very visible on the ground pretending to force the contractors to complete these projects or 'else they face unspecified consequences'. 

They will be using every other opportunity to grab the microphone and bragging about how they are working to solve the problem of the traffic jams in Thika Town once and for all. If you doubt me, please just watch this space. Hizi barabara haziishi before mid 2016!! You will shout hoarse, complain to them through every means but it will all be in vain. These people have their eyes trailed on the prize and there is nothing you can do about it. For them, everything is all about 2017 and they will take advantage of every opportunity to be there.

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