Kenyan Economy

Residents of Tharaka-Nithi County turn to community volunteers to open up impassable roads

After several pleas to Tharaka-nithi county government to repair their roads went unanswered, residents of Karingani ward have resolved to repair their own roads to at least make them passable. The residents, for the second day in a week gathered with hoes, shovels and spades with an aim of making their roads even passable.

Due to poor roads, residents in rural areas in in Tharaka nithi county are forced to use longer routes to get to shops and other amenities. In most cases, those with cars are forced to abandon them Kilometres away because roads do not even exist.

Residents also blamed shoddy work by contractors over the years where roads that are repaired barely last for a season. However, most of the roads within the county remain impassable. It is such cases that has prompted the youths within the ward led by local community leader Munene Mugo to take the initiative of digging up the roads themselves to make them motorable.

Karingani residents during their communal work to open up their roads. image/file

The paradox for Tharaka-nithi county is that the County acquired road machinery some years ago, however, most residents are never even aware of their existence. There have been allegations that the Tharaka-Nithi county executive uses these county machinery to do road repairs within the county and later awards the graded roads to companies owned by people in the county executive and pays them, for work done using county resources. This web of corruption and misuse of resources has left the county bleeding with under-development over the years.

A good case of this is the grading of Mikuu road, which was repaired by county machinery and later invoiced by the respective contractor who was awarded at 7million. This means that if these allegations are true, the contractor was paid 7 Million for the work done by the county.

A few weeks ago, we highlighted the corruption web in the same county with allegations of conflict of interest in almost every tender that is awarded within the county.

County on its deathbed: A clueless Governor and a compromised county assembly. The story of corruption, theft, and mismanagement in Tharaka-Nithi county

It is this mismanagement that has forced residents of Mukungugu village in Karingani ward to start a communal project to open up roads in the ward. Attempts to seek help from the local county leadership, area MCA as well as Area MP Patrick Munene were futile.. “We are tired of waiting for help from these people for years, we cannot continue to suffer any more hoping that the people we elected will show up and make these roads passable” Geoffrey said. Those available within the community are lobbied to participaate for the weekly event, while those who cant make it are encouraged to support with whatever cash they can, money that is used to provide lunch and tea to the volunteers.

It is their hope that the county will do what is right and send their machinery to help out in the road works.