By MIKE MWANIKI – Nation.
Mandera County leaders yesterday faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee government over a pledge to tarmac the 800 kilometre road connecting Mandera to Wajir.
Led by Mandera County Governor Ali Roba and county Senator Billow Kerrow, the leaders criticised the decision to tarmac only 20 kilometres of the Garissa-Mandera road, B9, through the newly launched Annuity road programme.
The special programme involves borrowing money from banks by the government, which disburses it to contractors to fast-track the tarmacking of the roads in various parts of the country.
Mr Roba said the Transport ministry had failed to observe the “principles of equity” at all levels by failing to tarmac the 800km road as earlier promised by President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.
“We are extremely dissatisfied with the Jubilee Government’s decision since there is no single piece of tarmac road in Mandera County since independence,” Mr Roba told journalists on Wednesday.
NEXT 40 YEARS
“By deciding to tarmac only 20 kilometres in each constituency, areas with tarmac roads will benefit while marginalised areas like Mandera County will continue to suffer since it will take the next 40 years to complete tarmacking the 800km road,” he added.
Mr Kerrow said there is need for equitable development in all parts of the country. He said it is “shocking” for the Jubilee government to fail to implement the Constitution.
“We are thoroughly disappointed, since this decision will result in development to only occur in areas that are already developed,” Mr Kerrow noted.
Mandera West MP Mohammed Mahamud, who is also the parliamentary Transport Committee chairman, said there was a need to “reconfigure” the programme.
“We are protesting since we had identified the 800km road as a priority because it traverses 18 constituencies in the region.
“We would like the road to be tarmacked as earlier promised by President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto,” Mr Mahamud added.
The press conference was also attended by MPs Adan Noor (Mandera North), Mohammed Huka (Mandera South) and Mohammed Haji (Garissa) and a cross-section of women and youth leaders from Mandera County.