Where No On Can Cross

Heavy floods in 2018 saw a bridge connecting Tetu and Nyeri Town sub-counties swept away cutting direct communication between residents of the two constituencies.

Three years later, only a makeshift wooden bridge stands in place of the bridge at River Kagumo.

Only the brave can use it. It is dangerous. It squeaks and sways when people use it.

Many residents of Muruguru, Mung’aria and Gichira areas in Nyeri have protested demanding the construction of a new proper bridge.

But the county government of Nyeri has been slow to act, only sending officers to assess the situation after demonstrations led by InformAction in February.

InformAction’s Samuel Wandimi wants Governor Mutahi Kahiga to use a fraction of money set aside for emergencies to build a temporary bridge as they wait for a permanent one to be constructed.

“A makeshift bridge would have been his effortless undertaking before we know whose mandate to construct the real bridge is,” he said.

The bridge has over the years been a key factor in the economy of Nyeri County. Transport and movement of goods and services were made easier by the bridge.

Now, those not brave enough to risk their lives to use the makeshift bridge constructed by residents have to use a longer alternative route to transport goods and services, including farm produce, to the market.

InformAction organized another demonstration in July, where residents threatened to storm Governor Kahiga’s office if he failed to act fast.

“We were expressing our emotional feelings because we no longer transact business or socialise like we used to,” said Wandimi.

 

The county government, again, sent a team to assess the situation after the demonstration. 

Residents want county and national governments to rebuild the bridge as soon as possible.

Zachary Waruru from Gichira said they had informed their leaders of their suffering but no action has been forthcoming.

Karanja Wahome from Gichira said it has been very difficult to transport farm harvests to the market, especially coffee to factories.

“People have fallen into this river while trying to cross over using that makeshift footbridge, with some sustaining injuries,” Wahome said.

Schoolchildren have to use long alternative routes, forcing them to either wake up earlier than usual or risk getting to school late.

Gatitu-Muruguru MCA Muturi Muthee said the bridge is supposed to be done by Kenya Rural Roads Authority.

But the residents say they do not care whether the national or county government will do the bridge.

Story by IFA Central Team

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