Act resolutely to help save Thika superhighway
17 March 2014
Only last week we presented to Kenyans in pictures (not in photoshop!) the degeneration of what had been touted as an infrastructural showpiece-the Sh31 billion Thika superhighway, the only standard eight-lane road in this region. The tragedy is that the masterpiece is fast sliding to the dogs because of our peculiar habits, greed, legendary indiscipline, misplaced and false sense of entitlement and lethargy to enforce the law.
Taxpayers should be more worried because the destruction of the superhighway is going on in earnest even before we started repaying the hefty loans from the African Development Bank and the China government that built the multi-billion facility. Why are the authorities not acting resolutely to stop the vandals and outlaws from destroying one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects?
The reaction- contracting of the Sh3 billion deal to maintain the highway- though welcome, will only add to the cost of the facility for which the taxpayer will dearly be paying for in loans. Ripping off guard rails to feed an insatiable scrap metal sector is not only avarice, but criminal. The scrap metal trade needs tough political decisions through requisite legislation t o protect roads furniture and other critical infrastructure.
The prevarication over the pending metal scrap bill to regulate the sector is worrying. The concern that the MPs are being held hostage by self-interest needs to be addressed soonest. A number of dealers in the scrap metal sector which is the main culprit in this wanton destruction are of course engaging in legitimate activity but without a clear regulatory and enforcement policy framework, many have embraced soulless ethos where no place is out of bounds in their hunt for the metal commodity.
This mindless state of affairs can only go on if we do not care about critical and costly infrastructure where metal constitutes an integral and irreplaceable component. For how long will this go on? The other aspect that needs to be tackled is the damage caused by lawless motorists-both private and PSVs- who see m to be on a "suicide mode" to increase the annual tally for road carnage.
The pedestrians, too, have not been left behind in this madness to destroy and abuse facilities put up for them- they tear down guard rails to create short-cuts for crossing the highway. Our predisposition to look the other way as the law is willfully breached will be the cause of our doom as a nation!