Coastweek -- The
new roads around the Changamwe, Port Reitz and Magongo areas
have made life a lot easier for the local residents as well as
for travellers who used to have hell prior to the roads being
opened. It was a little worse during construction time but at
least there was a promise at the end of the punishment,
writes TETI KAMUGUNDA.
Currently there is
construction taking place on another phase of road improvement.
The access to
Mombasa Island from the West mainland is being improved and
This is part of the
work to ease access to and from the island as well as improving
movement of traffic all the way to Mariakani as well as join the
Dongo Kundu bypass to the South Coast.
With the upgrade and
improvement of the road from both Mariakani and Mazeras to
Kilifi and the tarmacking of the road from Dzitsoni to the
Malindi side of Kilifi it will radically improve the access
options to the popular destinations between Mombasa and Malindi.
This will touch on
all types of traffic movement including upcountry travel for
commercial and private vehicles, access to and from the North
and South Coast areas as well as travel up and down the East
The latter will be
further improved when the implementation of the coastal highway
This is still very
much works in the pipeline and will obviously be affected by the
current debate in the country about the debt burden of the
country as well as the budgetary provisions that have been made.
We will look at the
budget and its impact next week after absorbing and analysing
construction of roads has always been an issue and with the
coming of the Chinese contractors, starting with the Thika
Highway, there was a step change in the speed and quality of
construction of roads.
The eyes of the
Kenyan public were opened as to what could be done and our local
contractors, whose spiral had been downwards in terms of the
quality and speed, suddenly change direction and their spiral
per unit, whether it was in cost per square metre of road or
housing, began to tumble down especially since these initial
contracts were from government to government and were part of
grants or aid as opposed to soft long term loans.
This meant that the
granting agency was in major control of awarding the contracts
and the receiving country = Kenya in our case – would diligently
ensure that they got the best value from the aid by making the
money stretch as far as it could.
country thus provided the checks and balances necessary.
We have since moved
on to where our government has gone for soft long term
infrastructure loans that are structured by the lender to give
them a reasonable return.
These lenders tend
to be different kinds of institutions from the banks that we
They deal in mega
amounts that have initial grace periods to allow the borrower to
construct whatever they are constructing before they start
making payments and the rates of interest are even lower than
the savings rates that you and I are used to (which are low
This means that we
are back to the wheeler dealer days when tenders were launched
by the various state agencies with targeted delivery
organisations in mind.
that were invited to tender for the delivery of the project or
service and then prequalified would already have been
compromised by some members of the party that is calling for the
The stakes, I am
told, have become higher, especially since the colluding parties
are now members of cartels that are linked to the very high
echelons of the party that is calling for the tender.
Let us brace
ourselves for a drop in quality and an increase in price for the
delivery of important infrastructure and service projects
especially as politics and elections permeate all levels of
public service delivery – in a negative way.
in a democratic society was always meant to provide the checks
and balances that ensured that wananchi would see tangible
benefits from the taxes they paid.
The reality in Kenya
is that we do not see these tangible benefits across the country
as largesse is delivered to “compliant” communities that vote
the way that is expected.
The “mtu wetu”
culture has engrained itself into our society and unless we get
rid of this we will find ourselves continuing on the downward
spiral that has been gathering momentum since the end of the
It is up to us,
wananchi who are patriots and are willing to see the country be
an efficient deliverer of services to its citizens, to become
the safeguard that ensure efficient and cost effective delivery
of infrastructure and service to our country.
As Kachumbari says,
anyone for dinner
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