A tunnel linking Parliament, County Hall and a new 27-storey office block for use by Members of Parliament, at cost of Sh110 million to the Kenyan taxpayer, is due for completion in May. Ostensibly built as part of measures to reduce traffic in the central administrative area of Nairobi, the new tunnel will also have the added benefit of protecting MPs from those most troublesome of people – their constituents.
Until now MPs have often complained that they are accosted by people outside Parliament seeking their help with one problem or another. With the new tunnel in place Kenya’s elected representatives, all 416 of them, will be able avoid such annoyances by passing underground beneath Harambee Avenue from one building to another.
The Sh110 million is small money in comparison to the estimated Sh5.8 billion being spent on the office block, an estimate that has now increased to perhaps Sh9 billion.
Some have criticised the ‘luxury’ project saying that their are other pressing priorities the money could have been better spent on. One such pressing problem is the fight against malaria in Kenya.
MEANWHILE… US TO DONATE SH3 BILLION TO FIGHT MALARIA
As work to complete the legislators’ mega-tunnel nears completion the US President’s Malaria Initiative has announced it will fund Sh3 billion to combat malaria in Kenya in 2018 as part of the Kenya Malaria Operational Plan published by the US Sate Department in November.
Most of the US-funded campaign will be concentrated in the lakeside counties of Western Kenya – Bungoma, Busia, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kisumu, Migori, Siaya and Vihiga – where malaria is most prevalent.
The bulk of the funding will be spent on massed vaccination of the 9.6 million people in the region at most risk of contracting malaria.
Over 14 million Kenyans live in malaria-endemic areas and treating the mosquito-borne infection infection accounts for some one-in-six visits to outpatient clinics in the country each year.
Although the Sh3 billion US-spending is down on the Sh3.5 billion donated in 2017 it’s still a very significant amount and only about one-third of the cost of new office block and tunnel being constructed for the benefit of Kenya’s legislators.