KAJIADO, Kenya—Floods swept away a multi-million shillings bridge joining three sub-counties in Kajiado, which was unveiled five days earlier by Governor Joseph Lenku.
Lenku said the county government spent a whopping Sh100 million to build the new bridge when it was unveiled on Saturday last week.
Farmers’ nightmares during the rainy season, when they don’t have access to outside markets, were expected to come to an end with the construction of the Paai Bridge.
According to locals, the bridge that serves as a crossing of the Eselenkei seasonal river was swept at 3 a.m. on Thursday.
According to John Lemomo, who talked to journalists he said he was awoken at night by loud noises coming from the direction of the river.
Lemomo believes the bridge was brought down by massive stones dragged downstream by floods.
He said that the bridge was built in a haste for political reasons.
“This bridge has nothing to celebrate about it… It’s even better that it was taken down before the general election in August,” Lemomo said.
Commercial horticulturists in Kenyewa/Poka Ward (Kajiado East), Imbirrikani/Eselenkei Ward (Kajiado South), and Matapato North (Kajiado Central) have no reason to rejoice about the much-hyped project.
Those attempting to cross the Eselenkei River, which is the area’s major seasonal river, risk their lives during the wet season.
County roads minister Alex Kilowua claimed the bridge will open up the area to local and national traders when it was first opened in September of last year.
“This bridge will enhance economic and social relations among residents, as well as potentially open the area to local and national distributors of horticultural produce,” Kilowua said.
Our attempts to contact Kilowua or Governor Lenku following the morning event were unsuccessful since neither official could be reached by phone.
During the rainy season, the Eselenkei, the area’s greatest seasonal river, bursts its banks.
The bridge was built to make it easier for people and products to transit between the three wards.
It would, according to Lenku, improve economic and social interactions among locals who were previously cut off when the river’s banks broke.
Farmers were cut off from markets during the rainy season before the bridge was built, he said, and their produce would decay on the land, causing losses.