Kajiado residents yet to benefit from SGR project

President Uhuru Kenyatta launch SGR Nairobi -Suswa. Photo Obegi Malack

By Obegi Malack

obegimalack@gmail.com

Ten months after high-profile launch of Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway Phase 2 project between Nairobi and Naivasha residents of Kajiado County are yet to benefit from the project.

The Sh150 billion project  cuts across Nairobi, Kajiado, Nakuru and Narok counties with four passenger stations- Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu and Suswa.

The stations in Ongata Rongai and Ngong are still running empty since few passengers can get to the stations.

Residents say that the stations are not accessible and ticket prices are too high. The tickets are sh 100 from Ngong / Rongai to Syokimau and sh 50 to Nairobi CBD, passengers are forced to use more than sh 300 to access Nairobi Railways  those who live outside the stations centres are forced to use bodabodas which cost sh 200 to and from which the pathetic roads.

Matatus in Rongai and Ngong towns charge of sh 100 to Nairobi which is cheaper than SGR.

In Kandisi in the outskirts of Ongata Rongai town Fatima Road that connects the SGR station and Magadi Road, the road is inaccessible a nightmare for motorists .

Kandisi Centre, the Fatuma Kandisi road that connects the SGR station was abandoned after launch of the SGR station.Photo Obegi Malack

The locals have been complaining for long but no one seems to come to their rescue. Those who had bought land at expensive prices and taken up spaces ready to receive cargo and passengers are yet to benefit from their investments.

During commissioning of the project president Uhuru Kenyatta promised to fix the access roads.

He directed Cabinet Secretary of Transport and Infrastructure James Macharia and Kajiado North Constituency Member of Parliament Joseph Manje to work together in fixing the Kandisi and Ngong roads for easier accessibility of the stations.

Kandisi/Kambimoto resident Josephat Ole Mbogo said the leaders have abandoned them and no one has gone back to the region after the launch to update them on the status of the project.

Mbogo said the Kajiado County Government is also not doing enough and has never even muramed the road. The road cuts across two wards and there has been no allocation to upgrade it.

“We use a lot of money to repair our cars, the leaders are not concerned we only see the county officers  collecting taxes, we have never seen our elected leaders,” he said.

Abandoned Kandisi Bridge in Kajiado North that killed six people in May 2018.

The resident said the government has also failed to fix a bridge that killed six people on May 2018, the bridge connects Rongai to Kandisi SGR station.

Former Rongai councilor Samwel Maina said feasibility study was not done before the award of the tender, and it was poorly constructed, he said the county govt should take action.

Elizabeth Maina who has lived in Kandisi since 1992 said they have suffered for long and had expected the SGR to open businesses in area, she said there also no water connectivity and they depend on boreholes.

In Ngong residents say the train is too expensive since access road is inaccessible especially when it rains. The commuters now opted to use Matatus.

Area Member of Parliament Joseph Manje said the National government officials had surveyed the two roads in Ngong and Rongai (Fatima to Kandisi Road) but is yet to get the progress report.

In a report tabled in parliament the Nairobi-Suswa railway has carried 7,824 passengers in two months since its commissioning, raising questions about the immediate benefit of the mega project to taxpayer.

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