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THE BRIDGE OF DEATH: KeNHA Needs To Provide Residents With Answers

KeNHA director-general Peter Mundinia.

The Kenyan National Highways Authority (KeNHA) must come to the rescue of the residents of Garissa and Tana River Counties border.

There’s the Garissa town bridge that separates the two counties, it is very busy but the pedestrians are at a disadvantage.

The lack of a pedestrian footbridge alongside the River Tana bridge has been a huge cause for worry for many years and a fraught for danger for the many pedestrians who cross the bridge on foot on a daily basis. When crossing on foot, they are left with no option but to share spaces with heavy trucks, crazily driven matatus plying the Garissa-Maroro-Madogo route, tuktuks, boda bodas, buses etc.

In a nutshell, crossing the bridge on foot is a risky venture.

It is this continuous and incessant interaction between the people and vehicular traffic on the bridge that has resulted in numerous traffic accidents over the years. Residents tell harrowing tales of people losing their loved ones through ‘accidents’ or limb.

The bridge of death.

All this could be avoided if there was a footbridge, for non-motorized transport.

In the last 2 months, 3 cases of accidents were reported. The grieving families have shared accounts of how their loved ones perished while some became disabled for life.

Petitions/Picketing

Residents are planning to increase pressure on KeNHA to resolve the issue once and for all. Together with partners from members of civil society organizations, some are planning to visit the families of the victims and if possible liaise with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) from Tana river county that specifically deal with matters Democracy, Human rights, good governance and social protection to deliberate on how they can marshal their efforts towards finding a lasting solution to this crisis.

‘I have taken it upon myself to directly engage KENHA and demand for some answers on this issue’, says a good governance activist in Garissa.

KeNHA must be responsible in these issues. This is not the first time that the residents are planning to write to the roads body.

On the 29th October, 2019, KeNHA through their Director General (DG) Peter Mundinia wrote back to the Garissa County Residents Association (GCRA) on their question about the lack of a pedestrian crossing across River Tana in Garissa Town along (A3) road.

The residents didn’t feel the response that the contractor Concordia Building & Civil Engineering Limited contract was terminated and that no payments were made to the firm in regards to the subject project.

The response has raised more questions than answers:

  1. “Why was the contract terminated despite CONCORDIA BUILDING and CIVIL ENGINEERING LTD providing a performance security inform of an unconditional bank guarantee (5 per cent of the contract sum)?’
  2. When was the contract terminated?

Remember according to the contract document signed by the Director General himself; CONCORDIA was awarded the contract back in February 2018 for a contract period of 15 months with defects to liability of 12months work was supposed to commence in may 2018 and be finalized by may 2019.

Many residents wonder why there is no pedestrian footbridge despite the government giving funds for roads maintenance and building.

According to the Fair Administrative Action Act 2015; if you write an official letter of inquiry to a public entity, they should revert with an official written response within 21 days. The letter was also copied to Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

KeNHA might have written back to the residents but it seems their answers were not convincing.

This is how they feel

As we continue to engage KeNHA ; we’ll soon also explore the following avenues to help us get to the bottom of this ghost project:

1. Directorate of Criminal Investigations :

We gave copies of our inquiry letter to both DCI and EACC, but none of them was an active player in this, it was basically to inform them what was happening. In their response, KeNHA also copied their letter to both DCI and EACC.

It’s time now to call in the DCI (as an active player) to swing into action and undertake immediate investigations and solve this whole mystery.

2. The other option that is at our disposal (and which we’ll most certainly explore) is

PETITIONING THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE (PAC):

We’ll petition the Public Accounts Committee to summon the Director General KeNHA , Eng Peter Mundinia and appear before the committee with clear evidence showing that the contract which was awarded to CONCORDIA BUILDING and CIVIL ENGINEERING LTD (at contract sum of over 154million) was terminated and no money was fraudulently paid upfront (as widely reported in the media ) to the well connected company linked to a ‘powerful politician’ !

A copy will be Cc’d to the house leadership , the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon Justin Muturi will get his copy, so will be the Leader of majority party in the National Assembly, Hon Aden Duale and the Leader of the minority party ,Hon John Mbadi.

We envisage this to be one big exposure, the mystery will be solved and the information regarding the ghost project will be available in the public domain!

This will be a pointer to the number of skeletons in the closet that will begin to come out eventually re all the dubious ghost projects awarded to the same company for doing zero work!

The essence of formally writing a letter of inquiry to office of the Director General was to confirm what was highlighted in the media and verify its accuracy ; now it’s time for action and we solemnly promise that indeed we’ll walk the talk!

Let’s see if the reported ‘well connected ‘ company (as reported by the daily nation on many occasions) will use it’s influence in the national Assembly and try all that’s possible under the sun to ensure our petition, when we finally table it, will be watered down!

If all attempts fail , we’ll resort to the option of Public Interest litigation (PIL) with the help of KATIBA INSTITUTE and sue the concerned authorities for inaction!

We wont stop until we lift the lid on this ghost project!

We wont stop untill KeNHA undertake fresh procurement process and eventually construct the planned Pedestrian crossing across river Tana that will bring complete harmony between pedestrians and the vehicular traffic on/across the great River Tana bridge!

Cnyakundi.com supports the call by the residents that the bridge must be built and it must be done quick.

DOCUMENT: Letters



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