Delays put Sh180m Nandi roads cash in jeopardy
Some Sh180 million meant for the construction of major roads in Nandi County could be returned to the National Treasury after the projects failed to take off due to tender wars and political interference.
The fight for tenders to construct the roads has derailed projects in three sub-counties: Nandi Hills, Chesumei and Aldai.
The projects, which had all been approved, have been delayed for over six months due to vested interests and fighting over who should get the tenders, with politicians cited as key players.
With only one month left to the end of this financial year, some or the entire Sh180 million is likely to be returned to the Treasury.
The Kenya Roads Board approved the construction of roads in all the six sub-counties in November 2022 and work was expected to start immediately. However, in the three sub-counties, work failed to take off because of vested interests from political leaders who want.
This will be a bitter pill to swallow for county residents and a dark twist of irony as they, over the last 10 years, accused former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime of giving the devolved unit a raw deal on road construction.
When President William Ruto visited the county on March 20, together with Roads and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen, residents lamented that the county had suffered the most simply because they had supported him.
The President promised to ensure all projects that stalled during the Kenyatta regime would be done without further delays.
The Nation has established that politicians have been pushing to have their close associates given the tenders for the roads. The war involves the contractors who had won the tenders before the new political leadership came into office following the 2022 elections.
The contractors are accusing politicians of frustrating plans to start work for the past six months.
“Plans for the construction of the roads had been approved by Kenya Roads Board in the 2022 /2023 financial year, but work has not taken place since November 2022,” said Nandi county contractors leader Isaac Sang.
There has been speculation that some senior public works officials, including regional engineer Michael Rono and county head of procurement Nancy Rotich have been transferred due to pressure from politicians after they refused to bend to the demands.
Mr Sang and fellow contractors Benjamin Kuto and Joseph Kosgey petitioned Mr Murkomen to intervene, saying tender wars should not derail progress. They noted that road construction works in the other sub-counties of Tindiret, Mosop and Emgwen have not been affected and that what residents want is the proper use of their money regardless of who is allocated the tenders.
The contractors warned that divisive politics will deny the county better infrastructure.