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Juja Residents, JKUAT At Loggerheads Over Sh. 180m Access Road.

Battle lines have been drawn in Juja Town after residents accused Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT) of sabotaging the development of an access road which they claim that the university has encroached illegally.

According to George Kaimburi, a resident of the area, the row over the route that links Gachororo Area to Thika Superhighway is a highly contentious one with large numbers of local residents keen to see it re-opened.

The road, which leads along the university from Highpoint area to Gachororo, is blocked at both ends with the institution already having erected a fence. Historical evidence and survey maps show that the area where the road has been assigned is outside the university’s compound and that the management of this institution is merely preventing the development of this road illegally, thus spoiling themselves for a fight with the area residents.

“As residents of Juja and stakeholders of this development, we appeal to the JKUAT management to allow the construction of this road to go on as approved by the County Government of Kiambu. There has been endless challenges in Juja as there are no tarmac roads to link the various areas to the superhighway,” said Kaimburi.

He added that the project was approved and funded by the World Bank (WB) in 2010 and there was no way they would keep quiet and watch this institution sabotage this project.

“The WB has given out sh.180 million for the project. The designs and logistics are ready and we cannot watch someone stop this project. If they (JKUAT) refuse to allow access of this part of the road, we shall mobilise the residents to protest against them and demolish their wall come next week,” he said.

Juja Ward admin Peter Mbuthia said that he would table this issues to his bosses at the County Government of Kiambu for an official statement on the same.

Responding to these accusations, Chairperson Universities Academic Staff Union Mr. Rugara Wa Muiga who happens to be a lecturer at the university promised that he would engage with the management of the university so as to try and seek an amicable solution to the impasse.

He agreed that the fence erected by the university may have gone beyond their boundaries.

“There is no bad blood between the university and the community for we have been in a very good working relationship. I shall talk to the management and we are sure that we will come up with a solution,” said Rugara.

He outlined the envisaged dividends that will accrue from the proposed project to the Juja residents; particularly the business community located along the Access Road who he said, would realise increased business opportunities.

The stakeholders were unanimous that the project was a good idea whose benefits will accrue not only to the University but also to the rest of the Juja Community.

Juja is one of the fastest growing towns in Kiambu County, as well as in the Nairobi metropolis. However, it is sad to note that roads in Juja are in bad shape and almost impassable during the wet seasons.

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