It’s a form of road rage. Hundreds of transporters in the Keiyo district went on strike on Thursday, not to demand better wages or shorting working hours, in fact nothing to do with their employers at all. They ‘downed tools’ as our newspaper reporters insist on calling it, to protest at the deplorable state of the roads they are forced to use.
The haulage firms say they lose large amounts of money resulting from the almost daily breakdown of their lorries due to the appalling state of the roads as they transport fluorite minerals to the Flax trading near Eldoret
The transporters contracted to the Kenya Flourspar Mining Company brought the 21km Nyaru road to a standstill with the aid of a convoy of 70 lorries, demanding that the government investigate where the millions of shillings set aside for road’s rehabilitation every year, gets to.
“What we want to know is why the road is in such a bad state year in year out despite the fact that money is always allocated for its repair every year”, said Musa Wendot, ‘spokesperson’ for the transporters.
The fluorite mining in Kerio Valley earns the government considerable amounts of money but it seems hardly any of it has been reinvested in local infrastructure. ‘Unconfirmed reports say some of the money set aside for the rehabilitation of the road might have been misappropriated’, reported The Star. Surely not, says the Kenya Forum.
The Keiyo South district officer Lilian Lagat says the transporters’ grievances will be addressed. We shall see.
DIRECT ACTION – PLANT A BANANA TREE
We can probably all think of 10 examples of neglected important roads that require urgent attention. For this Forum correspondent the Kilimani Ring Road in
Nairobi, about 100m from where it joins the Argwings Kodhek Road, immediately springs to mind. There’s been an ever widening and deepening set of holes there over recent times that now reduce traffic flow to just one lane. Beside them is another hole into a drain, just big enough to swallow the wheel of a medium-sized salon car. Any sign of Nairobi City Council dashing to the scene?
So perhaps it takes strike action and a convoy of heavy lorries to get action. Or does it?
Residents along the Kisii-Kisumu-Migori road have also run out of patience at the state of the road which had become all but impassable. Did they riot? No. Form a convoy? No.
Following heavy rain and the road as a result a sea of mud, they planted banana plants along the road ‘paralysing’ such traffic as could go along it. A day later construction work began on the road.
“This is the only language the government understands because we can see, work has started immediately”, The Star reported a Mr Ben Mogaka, a local businessmen, saying.
So, banana trees make the government and local councils take action. The Kenya Forum can see new plantations spring up across Kenya overnight!