A contractor who was awarded the sh. 796 million tender to rehabilitate Old Malindi road has blamed the Kenya Urban Roads Authority(KURA) on stalled rehabilitation works that have forced area residents to wade through muddy ponds along the road during the rainy season.
Fahim Ewad, the director of Equistar limited, the company awarded the tender says the delayed disbursement of payment for completed works by the authority has crippled rehabilitation works.
“It all has to do with delayed payments that have limited about ability to execute construction works on the road” Ewad said.
According to Ewad, this coupled with encroachment of the road by area residents has forced construction works to stall more than four years since they began.
“ The design of the road was changed, some parts of the road reserve are encroached to such an extent that we cannot construct footpaths and drainages “Ewad added.
According to the Kenya Urban Road Authority rehabilitation works on the road that stretches from the Jocham Hospital to Shanzu were expected to have been complete by September 2019.
However, more than eight months after the lapse of the expected completion date, area residents have to choose between wading in muddy water or being tossed to and fro whenever they are being driven along the largely potholed road.
Motorists,Boda boda riders and Tuk Tuk drivers have borne the most brunt according to Steve Baya, a Tuk Tuk driver who ferries passengers between Bamburi and Shanzu areas.
“ I have spent more than sh.10,000 on spare parts since the year began and this has been a huge setback for me. However, I will never forget the day I ferried a woman who was nursing a surgery wound. Whenever the Tuk Tuk would hit a pothole, she would really complain that the wound was paining” Baya said.
According to the Kenya Urban Roads Authority, the 13 kilometre road was supposed to be rehabilitated at a cost of sh.796,371,134.40.
A spot check by Baraka FM shows that only 5.07 kilometers of the road has been rehabilitated which is the section that stretches from Shanzu to Hassan Joho girl’s secondary with the contractor claiming that the authority had not yet approved payment for part of the completed section.
Last year, the expected completion date was pushed to June 2020 according to sources from the Authority who did not want to be named.
The authority then embarked on giving demolition notices to owners who had encroached the road reserves.
While some owners demolished part of their property that had been built on the marked road reserves,others rushed to put their buildings up for sale.
Baraka FM saw atleast two buildings that had been earmarked for demolition that had been listed for sale on Facebook.
Buildings housing the Millionaires Club and the Porcupine nightclub are among those that were earmarked for demolition
However, the exercise never kicked off.
“Demolition was supposed to kick off four months after the notices were given but we were given a notice not to proceed with the exercise. No explanation was given” the source added.
When reached for comment, the Authorities’ phones went unanswered.
However,this is not the first time area residents are being subjected to travel on a dilapidated road.
In 2015,just a few months before the rehabilitation works were commisioned,hundreds of residents blocked a section of the road in Mtopanga ward protesting against its poor state.
Earlier in the year,the Authority was put on the spot after a 17-year-old boy was shot dead by police in Kasarani during a protest by area residents over the poor state of the Kasarani-Mwiki road.