The great risks bad roads pose to the Rift Valley

October 16, 2012 1:30 pm
Here, poor and lack of roads do not only hurt the economy of the country but also the residents of Shompole/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 16 – At the floor of Kenya’s distinctive Great Rift Valley is Kajiado North District which is situated in the south-western part of the country.

The eye-catching expanse of the Great Rift Valley has unique breath-taking physique making it a perfect choice for those who appreciate nature.

Its geographical location between Kenya and Tanzania gives tourists diversity to explore attraction sites in the two Eastern African countries that enjoy the uniqueness of a volcanic eruption.

However, poor infrastructure continues to deny tourists this exploit.

It also locks out revenue that Kenya could have earned through tourism at the district that is also home of two soda lakes – Lake Natron and Lake Magadi.

It is only 90 kilometres away from Nairobi.

But immediately after Kiserian, the road leading to Lake Magadi is dilapidated.

Drivers are forced to drive at slow speed to avoid deep potholes and the chipped edges of the narrow tarmac road that leads to Lake Magadi.

Shadows and water reflections of thousands of flamingos at Lake Magadi is a spectacular view. On the other side of the lake are small lumps of soda ash collected in long rows that apart from being raw materials also provide an interesting landscape for nature lovers.

Shompole is another exciting area facing the Nguruman Escarpment. Unfortunately, this is a feature that many tourists cannot view due to lack of roads.

Here, poor and lack of roads do not only hurt the economy of the country but also the residents of Shompole.

“In the month of August especially, customers from Tanzania do not come here. So our business is hurt. Children do not go to school because they cannot cross the river. We really need a road. Cars cannot drive through this road,” a resident who only identifies herself as Joisiripano explains to Capital FM News.

Kenyans and Tanzanians who trade at the Shompole Market have to walk across Ewaso Nyiro Swamp during all seasons. During rainy seasons, they remain glued in their homes since crossing the river means inviting death.

“The road is bad because of this Ewaso Nyiro swamp. There is always water and there is no bridge. Some of us fall in the water while trying to cross, when it is flooded, some people drown,” another resident in Shompole said.

“We are suffering. Our children sometimes go without food. Look at me, we remove our shoes and walk barefoot because we have to cross this river. I have fallen here many times,” Sofia explained displaying her shoes covered with a layer of mud.

Another resident who used to work for Shompole Lodge which has currently shut down says tourists visiting their hotel used to suffer a lot when driving, “There is a lot of benefit from tourism. The government should make the roads. When they come here they get stuck while driving.”

Their hope is that the Roads Ministry will acknowledge the important contribution Kajiado North District can bring into the tourism sector to earn Kenya extra revenue.

They also hope the government will consider the risk they take every day to earn a living to maintain their families.

They are urging the Member of Parliament in Kajiado North Constituency to address the plight of the suffering residents and ensure that roads and bridges are constructed.


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