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Projects to decongest Nairobi roads begin

President Kenyatta flags off machinery to be used in the roads project. Photo/PSCU

President Kenyatta flags off machinery to be used in the roads project. Photo/PSCU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday launched two road projects to decongest the eastern parts of Nairobi where 80 percent of the city residents live.

The two projects are Outering Road – which carries the biggest traffic volume in the city— and the Nairobi Eastern Missing Link Roads. The Outer Ring road which involves creation of two-lane passages on each side of the road as well as a 9-metre Bus Rapid Transit corridor to be integrated at a later stage will cost Sh8.5 billion.

The Nairobi Eastern Missing link roads will cost Sh4.58 billion with the Government shouldering 32.65 percent while the European Union and the African Development Bank will contribute the remaining 67.45 percent.

President Kenyatta pointed out that the two projects will benefit 13 out of the 17 constituencies in Nairobi City County by easing the severe traffic pressure that hikes the cost of transportation in the city.

“The government will change this and we will make Nairobi equal. We will take development to the areas where majority of Kenyans live including the informal settlements,” he said.

The project is expected to be fully completed in 30 months with the President noting that it is one of the Vision 2030 flagship projects expected to improve transport infrastructure in major towns across the country.

President Kenyatta, who spoke at Outer Ring Road/Mutindwa Road Junction, said development in Nairobi has always been biased towards the western parts of the city.

“We want to serve all Kenyans… and I assure to serve those who voted for us and those who did not. It the right of all Kenyans to be served by the Government,” he stated.

He made it clear that the Government’s development plan covers all Kenyans irrespective of their party affiliation.

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“We do so because it is just for Kenyans to be served equally by the Government in power,” he said.

The President pointed out that congestion in Nairobi has been an obstacle for the city to progress and be in the same league with top cities in the world. Outering Road has the biggest traffic volume with 87,000 vehicles using it on a daily basis and the new project will have ripple effects in other parts of the city.

According to statistics read at the function by Governor Kidero, the Kenya Revenue Authority registers 8,000 new cars every month 7,000 of which belong to Nairobi residents.

The President said the Jubilee Government will continue implementing projects to improve the infrastructure of Nairobi, which he said faces many challenges.

“We have engaged the National Youth Service to uplift the standards of the informal settlements,” the President said.

He directed contractors building the roads to hire local youth for construction works. The Head of State said the directive to benefit the locals also applies to the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and all other infrastructure projects.

The president further urged politicians to seize from continue engaging in politics but instead focus on serving Kenyans.

“Stop reminding us that you are affiliated to CORD or any other coalition…we know one tribe which is Kenya and all Kenyans have a right to be served,” he said.

“We want to raise the living standards of all Kenyans …those in formal and informal sectors.”

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The President was accompanied by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale, Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko, Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau, Devolution Cabinet Anne Waiguru and Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir, Nairobi Women Rep Rachael Shebesh, Embakasi West MP George Theuri among others.

Duale criticized the opposition of being insincere by accusing the government of encouraging land grabbing while claiming the CORD principles reputation had been previously been tarnished.

He gave an example of former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka property in Yatta which he alleged that was formally owned by the National Youth Service.

“In the history of Kenya, the minister who resigned because of selling land belonging to an embassy of Kenya is Moses Wetangula,” he stated.

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