Kanini Kega to Gachagua: Guarantee us building of Sh4.4 billion Mau Mau road will proceed

Kanini Kega

Former Kieni MP Kanini Kega addresses journalists during a joint press conference in Nyeri town on November 25, 2022. Mr Kega has asked Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to assure the residents the Mau Mau road projects would be completed.

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media Group

Jubilee leaders in Nyeri who lost in the August 9 General Election want Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua to guarantee Mt Kenya residents that the stalled building of the Sh4.4 billion Mau Mau road will continue.

The project links Nyeri and Nyandarua counties.

Former MP Kanini Kega and Mr Githigaro Wachira – who unsuccessfully vied for the Kieni and Tetu parliamentary seats respectively – have promised to support Mr Gachagua to become the region’s kingpin if he assures them that the halted project would continue.

Speaking to the media separately, the two leaders said the cancellation of the 54km project linking Ihithe in Tetu and Ndunyu Njeru in Kipipiri would hinder the growth of the two counties.

The Ihithe-Aberdare Forest-Kahuruko-Ndunyu Njeru Lot 4 road tender is part of the mega Mau Mau road project that sought to link Kiambu, Muranga, Nyeri and Nyandarua counties.

Mr Kega said the road is one of the projects that the Kenya Kwanza government, led by President William Ruto, should complete in the Mt Kenya region.

“We are basically supporting Mr Gachagua and coming together on the basis of development. That is why we must speak in one voice so as to ensure that the ongoing projects, for example the Mau Mau road connecting Nyeri and Nyandarua, are completed,” said Mr Kega, Jubilee’s director of elections.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) had announced that the decision to cancel the tender was reached after it failed to get environmental impact assessment approvals from environment watchdog Nema, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS).

“I think there were challenges here and there but we must speak as leaders from Mt Kenya and say that that road must be done to completion,” said Mr Kega, a nominee for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA). 

“We must ensure that what is rightfully ours is given to us regardless of how some of us voted. The elections are over and we will have to wait for the next four years.” 

Rural towns

Mr Wachira said the road, when completed, will help open up rural towns on the route and encourage residents to plant trees.

“This road is very crucial for spurring development in the Mt Kenya region and that is why we need that unity amongst us as leaders,” he said. 

“Currently, we don’t have a short access to Nyandarua County, where there is plenty of agricultural produce. We need to move goods and services within the 10 counties that are under the Central Region Economic Block (CEREB).

“We have the Nairobi-Mombasa highway and the Nanyuki-Meru road which cut across forests. The [Mau Mau] road can still pass through this route so as to help in developing our rural towns. 

“To ensure environment conservation, we will encourage our people to do afforestation.”

The government has announced that an environmental impact assessment is underway to determine whether the proposed road would proceed.

The government is concerned about the Aberdare ecosystem and is considering whether the road would destroy its natural forest, said Nyeri County Commissioner Mohammed Barre. The road had been projected to be completed by next year.

“We are very much concerned about our water towers, forests and wildlife. Aberdare is one of those ecosystems that host our wildlife and water towers. The project was not halted, but a proper assessment procedure is being undertaken,” Mr Barre said during this year’s Mashujaa Day Celebrations in Nyeri town.

“[Nema] is responsible for determining whether we really need that road to cut across that water tower. As a government, we cannot bring mass destruction of our ecosystem in pursuit of minimum benefit. That is the guideline of the government.”

His remarks came after some residents held protests, demanding that President Ruto’s administration reinstate the project.

“We have seen some leaders holding protests, lamenting that [Kenha] stopped the road linking Nyeri to Nyandarua. Well, it is your right to hold demonstrations and express yourself as enshrined in the Constitution,” Mr Barre said. 

“But once the procedure is completed, it will be determined whether the road’s construction will continue or not in that stretch.”

Mr Mbogo Mukunya, a resident of Tetu constituency, said the road was earmarked to open up CEREB counties by shortening the distance covered when ferrying food and other products.

“With all humility, we are requesting President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua to reconsider this tender so that we can see its implementation by January next year” Mr Mukunya said.

“Logistics companies cover 205km from Nyeri town to Ndunyu Njeru in Nyandarua. If this road is opened up, they will now be covering 54km. This will result in cost reduction in the logistics sector.”