By Our Reporter
Hundreds of farmers and business people along the Oloitokitok-Njukini -Taveta road have protested over its deplorable state.
They claimed that the road has caused them heavy losses over the past five years because it is impassable.
The 67kms road cuts across the agricultural belt connecting Kajiado and Taita Taveta County and also handles cross border agri-business to and from neighbouring Tanzania.
The road and multiple feeder roads are in a bad state because of the ongoing rains that have made them totally impassable paralysing transport.
Both trucks and saloon cars have to
be pushed and be pulled by a group of youths tomaniavre the muddy road.
Residents of Njukini, Entarara and Illasit towns have been cut off from the rest of the county.
People there now carry their sick on their backs to distant health facilities because huge pot holes caused by flash floods have caused serious destruction.
“Patients hardly make it to hospitals especially at night. Donkey carts come in handy but with the rains the pounding in the region, the hospital are still inaccessible,” said John Kimani resident.
Taita Taveta County residents are also affected as they share some natural resources and markets with their Kajiado neighbours.
Farmers cried foul saying they are unable to transport their perishable farm produce to the markets, thus incurring heavy losses.
The few trucks ferrying farm produce spend more than a day to cover the bad stretch of the road with motorists complaining over the cost of vehicle repairs they are forced to foot.
“Almost every farmer is currently harvesting tomatoes and other farm produce but we cannot access the market. Our farm produce is rotting in the farms,” said Nancy Nasieku, a farmer from Njukini.
The road is also used by tourists driving between Amboseli Tsavo National Park and Tsavo Game Reserve.
Public Service Vehicles have pulled
out of the route forcing passengers to go through Tanzania, where they undergo
a rigorous clearance process by authorities then back to Kenya.
Shopping centres along the road are dying slowly economically, as locals continue pleading to the national and county governments for help.
In May 2019 Kenya National Highway Authority (KENHA) said via a public notice that they had identified a contractor to tarmac the road at a cost of Sh5.383Billion under Annuity Road Project Program(ARPP).
The construction is yet to commence.The
annuity programme is part of Kenya’s approach to upgrade 10,000km of roads
facing public funding shortfall.
The projects are expected to be carried out over the next five years at a cost of about Sh300bn countrywide, while private investors are expected to design, build and maintain public roads using their own funds.