By Henix Obuchunju
It’s a race against time for contractors working on the Yaya- Langata road as they seek to beat the fast approaching December 2019 deadline.
Six months after demolitions in Kibra meant to pave way for construction of the road, workers are on site working weekdays all through to weekends.
Residents of the area who are expected to benefit from the 2 billion shillings project are skeptical about the completion of the project before the deadline.
A stroll along the stretch already being worked on reveals workers on site on a hot Sunday afternoon. They brave the scorching sun to ensure the road is complete within the promised time frame. An official managing the site (who requested anonymity) revealed that a section of the road shall be complete by April this year.
Despite the views expressed by critics about the deadline being impractical, the official maintains that the team is committed to delivering quality work within the deadline which he terms as reasonable. He adds that workers are available all days of the week to ensure that the government’s pledge is actualized.
Already the extension from Nakumatt junction to DC grounds is complete, and according to the official, the remaining section of road should be complete by the end of the year.
The road, especially the Ngong road-kungu karumba- link all through to Lang’ata road is expected to ease traffic in the capital city of Nairobi and has been in the pipeline since 2012.
Once the road is completed, it will be possible for a motorist to cruise from Lang’ata Road through Kibera into Waiyaki Way, Red Hill Road and end up on Thika Superhighway without passing through the city centre.
Construction of the road saw thousands of houses brought down mid last year. Amnesty international estimates that 30,000 residents were left homeless after the demolitions. Homelessness after the demolitions highlights the difficulties faced by poor people living in slums as African cities expand rapidly.
The Kenya urban roads authority (KURA) had declined to compensate residents whose houses were demolished citing that the land belonged to the government.
Speaking to this writer, Nubian rights forum, an organization that champions for the rights of the Nubian community in kibra confirms that the affected persons are yet to be compensated. The forum’s chairman Shafi Ali has expressed fears that those evicted might never find justice as some have moved to other areas like kawangware thus making it hard to trace them.
Efforts to reach Kenya urban roads authority for comment on the same proved futile as our calls went unanswered.