How clinker plant will change lives in West Pokot

Clinker plant

An aerial view of the new Cemtech clinkerisation factory in West Pokot.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • The establishment of the clinker plant has led to increased traffic on the Kitale–Lodwar highway.
  • The increased traffic has greatly contributed to fatal road accidents on the highway involving PSVs.

The commissioning of the Sebit Cemtech Clinker plant in West Pokot County last week has come with lots of benefits for the residents, including an improved road network.

Apart from employing 11,000 Kenyans directly and 50,000 indirectly, the establishment of the new clinkerisation factory will see several roads in the region upgraded to ease transport.

The key road project earmarked for the region following the recent commissioning of the factory is a dual carriageway planned along the Makutano–Kamatira–Chepareria and Sebit, Ortum stretch along the Kitale–Lodwar highway.

In the past, several accidents have happened on the winding Kamatira–Chepareria and Sebit, Ortum sections of the highway.

The establishment of the clinker plant has led to increased traffic on the Kitale–Lodwar highway.

The increased traffic on the road, poor lighting, and visibility at night have greatly contributed to fatal road accidents involving public transport vehicles.

Over the years, the road that was constructed during the colonial era has witnessed numerous fatal road accidents.

Speaking at the launch of the Sebit clinker factory last week, Transport and Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said the new plant will put pressure on roads in the area because of the weight of the raw materials being transported, hence the need for planned infrastructural upgrade interventions.

Ruto commissions Sh45bn clinker plant in West Pokot

He revealed that the government was also in the process of constructing the Maili Tisa Loseru–Kitale Murpus road.

“We have already received funding from the African Development Bank (Afdb) and awarded the contract and the contractor will be on-site in the next one month. We shall have a dual carriageway in Kamatira and Kapenguria because of the projects at Sebit to improve transportation,” said Mr Murkomen.

The CS further said the government is planning to expand the Kitale–Lesserur–Nakadok.

“We shall construct schools, health centers, and markets to make sure this area moves forward,” said the CS.

Mr Murkomen also revealed plans by the government to open up Sondany to Ortum.

“To enhance clinker transportation we are finalising the upgrade of the Marich Passy–Tot–Barpello-Nakuru road to cut transportation by 8km,” he said.

According to West Pokot Senator Julius Murgor, the commissioning of the clinker plants has come with huge beneifits for the local community, roads upgrade, employment opportunities, and private investment. 

“The plant will greatly boost farming and other businesses along the road. Through the export processing facilities and pastoralist roadside markets, the project will also create new jobs and income-earning opportunities to the people of Turkana and West Pokot,” he said.

To this end, Senator Murgor has urged the road contractor to give women special preference for employment as well as in leadership roles in the projet.

At the same time, West Pokot Governor Simon Kachapin said the dual carriageway will improve security in the banditry-prone area and open up trade with the neighbouring countries.

“This region has immense potential in tourism, livestock production, and the fledgling oil industry. It has over the years been characterized by poor infrastructure and cattle rustling that have escalated insecurity,” he said.

Mr Kachapin also said the dual carriageway will benefit the North Rift counties through the North Rift Economic Bloc, (Noreb) and enhance revenue collection.

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto said the dual carriageway will boost economic activities along the Northern corridor.

“The road is an important link that will enhance regional integration, trade, and development since it will connect to the Northern Corridor,” Dr Moroto said.

Meanwhile, Pokot South MP David Pkosing proposed the setting up of a climbing line from Makutano to Ortum and the construction of bridges in the area.