A fresh storm is brewing between counties and the national government over control of the over Sh60 billion annually roads maintenance Levy fund.
The tug-of-war took centre stage during a five days tour by the Kenya Roads board KRB to the South Rift region after county bosses blamed Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) and the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (Kerra) for snubbing them.
Even after fighting to force the government to relinquish to them management of a huge chunk of the country’s road network in 2014 the counties argue it is still not clear which roads are to be maintained by them and which ones by the National Government through its roads agencies.
Addressing Kenya Roads Board members led by KRB Executive Director Jacob Ruwa, Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso lamented the poor state of road network in the counties, Bomet included.
“I am not sure why KURA can take funds meant for rural roads and construct a five kilometre road which is not a priority for the county government and the people,’ said Ms Laboso.
“It’s time we sat down for a round table consultation, to develop a working synergy and set priorities together on which roads to be constructed first, to avoid duplication of works,” she added.
KRB was on its annual inspection tour across Narok, Bomet, Kericho and Nakuru counties to find out how the roads’ fund has been utilised in the 2016-2017 financial year.
Mr Ruwa said the National Government has disbursed Sh1.3 billion to the South Rift counties but due to lack of coordination between the road agencies and counties, few roads have been repaired.
“We are all working for the people and we need to work together first, what they want is a good road that is passable not who repaired it,” said Mr Ruwa.
Motorists are charged Sh18 per litre of fuel collected by KRB and distributed through the Ministry of Roads with 22 percent to the 47 counties. KRB collects a whooping.
Counties control 122,000 kilometres of road out of a total of 161,450 kilometers nationally. Of this figure, Kenya National Highway Management Authority handles 17,472kms; Kura manages 13,044kms and the Kenya Wildlife Service, 4,583kms.
Kericho County CEC for roads Charles Birech echoed these sentiments and insists it’s Kura’s job to maintain the roads in urban areas. But Kura insists that it has been awarded contracts in rural areas.
“It all adds up to lack of consultations by these road agencies. We should come to a discussion table and discuss which roads should be given priority,” said Mr Birech.
The Road Bill 2014, drafted by the ministry, defines Class A, B and C as national roads, leaving Class D and E to counties.
But governors have insisted that Classes C, D and E should be under their jurisdiction.