Coast, Western and Nyanza regions are the biggest losers in new major road construction projects implemented under the Jubilee government, a Nation Newsplex review of roads data shows.
Of the 64 major roads projects listed in the Economic Surveys from 2014 to 2016 as completed or in progress in the first three fiscal years of the Jubilee administration (2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016), only two are in Coast region, while six are in Western and Nyanza each.
One of the roads being built at the Coast is the 35km long Kilifi-Kaloleni road which has been under construction since July 2012 and was expected to take two years to complete. According to a medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) report by Treasury, the road, which is to cost an estimated Sh2.3 billion was 86 per cent complete by the end of the fiscal year 2015/2016.
SLIGHTLY BETTER THAN COAST
The other road in the region is Mwatate – Taveta Road that has been under construction since 2011. The original contractor was terminated due to what the government called non- performance, and early last year a new contractor started work on the stalled project. When the two projects are complete, 133km of road will have been built at the Coast at an estimated cost of Sh9.6 billion.
Western only fares slight better than the Coast, with six major road projects ongoing or complete. The roads cumulatively cover 165 km, which is about 20 per cent more than the distance of the Coast roads. The roads will cost Sh9.7 billion.
Roads ongoing in Western from 2013 to 2016 include the 37km Ejinja – Bumala road that was 99 per cent complete and the 7.5km Kimilili - Misikhu Road that was 95 per cent done by the end of the fiscal year 2015/2016, according to the National Treasury. Only one of the roads in Western was initiated by the Jubilee administration.
Coming in third from the rear is Nyanza, with six roads under construction or completed over the same period covering 258km, one third longer than the roads in Western, at a cost of Sh19.6 billion, double Western’s and Coast’s.
INCREASED 23 PER CENT
Among the major roads projects completed or ongoing in the region is the 25km Kamagambo - Nyasembe – Mogonga road that was completed in the 2014/2015 financial year at a cost of Sh1.7 billion. Started in 2012, it is one of the few major roads projects in recent years that was completed within the allocated timeframe.
Other roads in the region that are complete or at least 80 per cent or more complete by the end of the 2015/2016 financial year were the 42km Homa Bay-Mbita , 67km Londiani- Fortenan-Muhoroni, 26km Siaya – Ruambwa, 38km Chebilat-Ikonge-Chabera, and Masara-Suna-Kehancha and reinstatement of Awendo - Mariwa roads. All these road projects in Nyanza were approved by the coalition government.
Between July 2013 and July 2015 there was an increase of road (all classes) under bitumen (tarmacked) from 11,300 km to 13,900km an increase of 23 per cent, according to the Economic Survey 2016.
Road under earth or gravel increased from 52,400km in 2013 to 65,600km an increase of 13,200km. Over the same period the length of trunk and major roads (class A, B and C) increased from 7,900km to 8,200km, an increase of 300km.
During his last State of the Nation address in Parliament before the General Election, President Kenyatta said that on his watch 1,950 kilometres of new roads have been completed, with another 7,000km under different phases of construction and the Treasury Secretary repeated the same figures during his 2017 Budget speech.
MIGHT NOT BE COMPLETED
While the number they quoted as complete is lower than the 2,700km constructed to Bitumen standard according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) what they say is currently under construction (7,000) can only be true if roads under gravel and earth are included.
Since independence, Kenya has only managed to construct 13,900km bitumen standard (tarmacked) roads, which is double what the two officials say is currently under construction.
About 70 per cent of the 64 major roads under construction between 2013 and 2016 were completed way past the deadline stipulated in the contract, or are still behind schedule.
An example is the Rumuruti – Maralal Road road in the Rift Valley, which according to a MTEF report by the National Treasury was started in June 2013. By the 2015/2016 financial year, only six per cent of the 35km road had been constructed.
Another is the 25km Mairi – Makombok road in Central which started in early 2013. Only 14 per cent had been built by the end of the 2015/2016 financial year. In other words, going by past experience some of the roads currently under construction might not be completed by the time the Kenyatta administration ends.
LANET - ELEMENTAITA
With 17 major road projects in the period under review, Rift Valley region takes the cake. When all the projects are completed, 414km of road, or triple the distance covered by the projects in the Coast, will have been constructed in the region at a cost of Sh30.3 billion. That amount is more than three times what will be spent in each of the Coast and Western regions.
According to Treasury reports, among the roads completed in the 2014/2015fiscal year is the Lanet Elementaita - Mau Narok Road which cost more than Sh1.1 billion and was started in February 2010.