November 2016

Hundreds of residents of Gatuanyaga Ward in Thika East Sub-County yesterday held a demonstration against neglect of the Thika-Munyu Road.

Led by bodaboda operators, they paralysed transport to or from Githima, Komo and Munyu Trading Centres for more than 10 hours as they accused both the national and county governments of ignoring their plight. The residents lit bonfires in the middle of the road, dug deep trenches across the road as well as dropping huge boulders of stones and tree trunks to make it impossible for any vehicle to get in or out of the area.
While chanting “Kabogo Must Go! Alice Must Go! Cecilia Must Go!” the residents said they were tied of being cheated by these leaders who they accused of neglecting their plight for the last 4 years.
William Kabogo is Kiambu Governor, Alice Ng’ang’a is Thika Town MP as Cecilia Wamaitha Mwangi is the area MCA. Efforts of their representatives to try and calm the irate crowd were shouted down and forced to retreat as the residents were not ready to listen to any of their explanations.

“We do not want to see any of them here! For the last four years they have giving us fake promises that they will repair this roads. The governor came here the other day and cheated us that he will employ some technology they learnt in Israel to mix the soil with chemicals that would make it accessible throughout the year but that was just mere talk and no action. It was the last time we saw of them. The MP came here and repaired it using poor quality workmanship and soils, thereby rendering it worse that it was before. What else are they coming to tell us now?” posed an angry resident of Githima Trading Centre.

They claimed that so many accidents were being experienced in the area due to the bad condition of the road, the worst hit being people using bodaboda motorbikes. It was also alleged that the businesses were bearing the blunt of the poor roads due to the high cost of transport. Motor vehicle owners talked of losses in repairs that could not have been the case were it not for the conditions of the roads within the area.

They vowed that they would not allow any county government official to collect any cess from the lorries transporting building materials as the county government did not justify their revenue collection with service delivery.

“We will not allow the county government to collect any money here until we get this roads done. They collect around sh. 300,000 every day from these lorries. The quarry owners too pay for business licences of around sh. 100,000 annually yet they cannot use part of that collection to repair this road. We are tired of these people exploiting our resources without giving anything back as a sign of appreciation,” said another protestor.

They said that even after failing to repair the roads, the county government officers restrained any person who attempted to repair the road claiming that that was their (county government) work.

“The county government askaris never allow the quarry owners to repair the roads. Any grader found doing so is usually impounded and the owner imposed with hefty fines that have discouraged them from coming to our rescue,” said another resident who works in one of the quarries.

The Kiambu governor was also accused of cheating the residents of Munyu that his government would upgrade their playing ground at a tune of sh. 1,000,000 but instead poured about 30 lorries of soil that were unevenly flattened.

“Now that field is no longer useful to our youth as they cannot play on it. Is that the carpet he promised us. If they are tired of Gatuanyaga people, we pledge to be relocated to Machakos County where we are sure that we will get services from Governor (Alfred) Mutua,” said one youth.

Representatives of both the area MP and the County Government of Kiambu passed blame on each other with each side claiming that the road was under the other’s jurisdiction. A county government worker who was present said that this road fell under the national government through KURA/KeRRA and that is why about 5 months ago the area MP and some national government officials launched a sh.70 million upgrade programme on the road.

The MP’s representatives denied this saying that the road no longer fell under them as it had already been assumed by the devolved unit.

After the standoff that took the entire day, the Thika East DCC Christopher Wanjau, was able to calm the situation and ensued normalcy at around 3pm after a heated debate that saw leaders raise voices at each other.

Morris Mburu who is an aspirant of Thika Town Constituency seat in 2017 and an area resident bore the wrath of the situation as his exit from his house was blocked with boulders. He was forced to spend the entire day in the area as he helped talk over the issue with other leaders for a solution. 

When pressed to comment on   the issue, Mburu had this to say, “I must admit that the larger Munyu area has been neglected by the sitting leaders for quite a long time. We are demanding those concerned to act fast and repair these roads as this has been a big challenge to us and the business community in the area.

Mary Wamuyu when she appeared in court on November 29, 2016, accused of burning a house belonging to Kamenu Ward MCA, Elizabeth Muthoni Hussein.

A businesslady at the Madaraka Market in Makongeni Thika has been arraigned in court for the arson charges involving a Thika based MCA.

Before the Thika Magistrates Court, Mary Wamuyu Gatumu has been accused of willfully and unlawfully setting fire Kamenu Ward MCA Elizabeth Muthoni Hussein’s house, her vehicle and her business premises leading to losses amounting to Sh150 million.

Testifying in the case, the MCA, told the court that her house was burnt down on November 22, 2015 by an irate mob who accused her of being aware of the people behind the burning of Madaraka market. The incident occurred just a day after Makadara market was torched by unknown people.

“It was on a Sunday at around 9.45am. I was preparing to go to church after my children left for Sunday school when a call came through warning me that there were some people who were buying fuel in jerry cans at a local petrol station with the intention of causing harm on me,” Muthoni told court.

Muthoni told the court that she overheard Wamuyu's voice saying they wanted her (the MCA) dead or alive as her caller had put his phone on loudspeaker in order for her to hear what the group was chanting in loud voices.

She told the court that she immediately ran out of the house and hid in a corner of a house that was still under construction, waiting for the worst to happen. Moments later, a charged mob forced its way into her compound, set her house on fire through one of the windows and burnt her Toyota Premio saloon car which was parked outside the house.

She said she managed to see and overhear what the arsonists were saying as they committed the offence.

“I saw Wamuyu holding a jerry can of fuel together with another lady who also held a bottle of fuel. They threw the fuel into the house through my living room window after which she lit up. That fire consumed my phones, laptops, computers, furniture, laundry machine, fridge, gas cylinders, a television set, two gym equipment, clothes and other items,” she said.

The arsonists later went to her business premises near Polysack Ltd in Makongeni where they torched 600 crates of soda which were kept in a container. Muthoni claimed that she was rescued by the police about two hours later, who had to disperse the irate crown by lobbing tear gas canisters.

Two days later she recorded a statement at the Thika DCIO offices after which investigations kicked off and the accused was arrested on April 9, 2016.

During the cross examination, defense lawyer Mbiyu Kamau faulted the MCA for what he said were discrepancies between the statement she gave to the investigating officer and the one recorded under OB No 23/24/11/15. In her defense, the MCA said the OB was recorded by an officer at Thika Police Station while she was still in panic mode but what she gave the investigating officer was her detailed personal statement.

“We do not get to read what the police write in their OBs. There is a difference between what the officer wrote and what I did,” she told the jammed court.

Thirteen witnesses are set to testify in the case which was adjourned until March 16, 2017.

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