President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday commissioned a key road that will accelerate economic growth of the lower eastern region and improve the lives of residents.
The upgrading to bitumen standards of the 192-kilometre road, which runs from Kibwezi through Ikutha, Mutomo, Kitui town, Kabati to Migwani will cost Sh18.4 billion.
Speaking after the launch at Mutomo township in Kitui County, President Kenyatta said upgrading of the road fulfils one of the Jubilee government’s social economic goals for the region.
The President termed the road ‘a major artery’ that will open up the counties of Kitui, Makueni and Machakos for rapid development.
“This road will bring down transport costs and attract investors leading to creation of employment for the youth in the region and beyond. For a long time the people of this region have wanted to see this road tarmacked. We are now fulfilling that dream,” he said.
The Head of State asked the contractor to ensure locals, especially the youth, get employed in the road project.
The project consists of the construction and rehabilitation of the existing road to an international trunk road standard.
It is part of the Mombasa – Mombasa –Isiolo –Addis Ababa road transport corridor.
President Kenyatta emphasised the Jubilee government’s all-inclusive approach to development and its determination to ensure no part of the country is marginalised.
He asked leaders to put the interests of Kenyans first and shun divisive politics.
“Kenyans want their lives to be improved and that cannot be achieved through divisive politics and discrimination,” he said.
The President pointed out that his administration is focused on lifting the lives of Kenyans across the country, citing the connection to electricity where 5.3 million households countrywide have power compared to only 2.2 million that enjoyed the facility before the Jubilee government came to office in 2013.
“Before we came to office, only 7,000 households had electricity in Kitui South constituency. Today, over 22,000 households are connected to power,” President Kenyatta said.
He said the government has also invested over Sh800 million in the provision of medical equipment in Mwingi and Kitui hospitals. The equipment includes theatre, kidney, X-ray and ICU machines.
Deputy President William Ruto, who accompanied the President, said the Jubilee government wants the Kibwezi – Migwani road tarmacked for the benefit of the people of the region.
“What is important to us is that we are constructing this road. It does not matter if some people will claim credit for it. The truth will always come to the open,” the Deputy President said.
He said the government has also invested Sh100 million for the construction of a Medical Training Centre, adding that three technical training institutes will also be constructed in Kitui South Constituency at a cost of Sh300 million.
On exploitation of minerals, Mr Ruto said the national government has played its part and now it is upon the county government to facilitate the mining of minerals for the benefit of the residents.
Kitui leaders who accompanied the president include governors Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Kitui Deputy Governor Peninah Malonza, Senator David Musila and Kitui South MP Rachel Nyamai.