Residents of Katani estate in Machakos County on Thursday protested over the poor state of a major road in the area.
During the protests in the estate behind Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, business was disrupted.
Even though the 6km road from Mlolongo was upgraded to bitumen standard, a three-kilometre stretch between Katani Centre and the chief’s camp remains in poor state.
A section of the Katani-Quarry road leading to the area’s security installation, a hospital, an international school and five quarries, was made worse by the recent rains. The residents said they had incurred huge costs of repairing their cars.
The residents, who placed boulders on the road and planted bananas and vegetables on the muddy pools to highlight the sorry state of the key road, said they were worried about how their children would access schools from Monday.
“This road leads to the quarries which build, not just Nairobi, but many parts of Kenya. It is painful to see all this wealth leave here without even the most basic of infrastructure left to residents,” said Mr Alphonce Mola, a resident.
He said more than 300 lorries, which transport murram and ballast from the area, pay Sh2,000 per trip to the county government.
He added that it was unconscionable that the county government could not return a small fraction of the money to the “goose that lays the golden egg.”
County government officials who visited the scene said the road was under the Kenya Urban Roads Authority but the devolved unit had decided to step in because of the importance of the section in revenue generation.
They said road repairs would start immediately. Residents vowed to keep vigil at the road to ensure the work is completed.
Mr Edward Orodi, a local leader, called for an audit of the tender for the Mlolongo-Syokimau Road.
“We doubt if a proper environmental impact assessment was done before the quarries were allowed to operate in the area. There wasn’t any public participation and now the trucks are damaging the road and blasts from the quarries are a health threat,” said Mr Orodi.
Athi River Sub-County Police Commander Catherine Ringera, who visited the scene, admitted that the poor state of the road was affecting security of the area. She thanked the county government for stepping in to repair the road.