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Uhuru gives strict deadlines for completion of projects in Raila turf
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|Uhuru gives strict deadlines for completion of projects in Raila turf by Kenyans247(1): Mon 11, January, 2021 08:56am|
President Uhuru Kenyatta spent the better part of Sunday in his handshake partner Raila Odinga's home turf, Kisumu, inspecting the development projects he commissioned.
The President is said to have arrived in Kisumu late Saturday night after spending time with the family of Amani National Congress party leader Musalia Mudavadi in Mululu, Vihiga county, following the burial of their mother Hannah Atsianzale Mudavadi.
Mr Kenyatta spent the night at the Kisumu State Lodge and then took meetings from Sunday morning, joined by Mr Odinga and other leaders.
Among them were Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Kisumu Governor Anyang' Nyong'o, Deputy Governor Matthews Owili, Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi.
While the agenda of the meeting was not made public, sources who attended it said it touched on the ailing sugar industry, mega road infrastructure and revival of the Western region's economy.
While he did not engage the public, choosing to fly from the State Lodge to the Mamboleo showground, the head of State was keen on assessing projects he initiated after his March 9, 2018 handshake with Mr Odinga, who is the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.
Mr Odinga, in a mighty show of his closeness to power, also boarded a military chopper to the stadium, arriving alongside the President. The third military chopper transported other government officials and Mr Kenyatta's security team.Tight deadline
The President expressed satisfaction with the projects but issued fresh directives for the completion of Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium ahead of the November Africities conference.
The Sh1.4 billion project is expected to be complete by April 5 and will be inaugurated by the President himself. That means the contractor has about three and half months to complete it.
"You assured me the last time we were here that works will be completed by April. Let that be done," Mr Kenyatta told Chaju Builders Limited, whose director is Cornel Osano, moments after taking about 20 minutes to tour the facility and receive briefings from officials.
President Kenyatta also visited the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Complex, the Kisumu port and the site for the new railway station whose construction is expected to begin soon.
The visit came three days after the Kenya Railways Authority demolished structures at Obunga Pap Mbuta, used by traders to prepare and sell fish, mostly Nile Perch.
The demolition was to create room for development of the area which, according to acting city manager Abala Wanga, was earmarked for construction of a railway station.
"Kenya Railways is planning to have a station here for passengers with the other one at the port strictly for cargo destined for other countries in the region," said Mr Wanga.
He said affected traders will be relocated to Obunga Sports Complex, which he said was being repossessed from land grabbers.Kisumu a priority
The inspection is yet another clear indication that the President is keen on finishing projects in Kisumu and ensuring the economic recovery of a region past regimes have been accused of sidelining.
The President's visit comes a month after a meeting in Kisumu by the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee chaired by County Commissioner Josephine Ouko.
Resolutions included re-tendering for major road projects following challenges including land acquisition, relocation of graves and design changes, which also resulted in cost changes.
Over Sh2.1 billion has been set aside for the projects and the contractors directed to ensure they complete them before November.
Ms Ouko led the team in inspecting the Ahero Interchange, Kisumu Boys-Mamboleo Junction road, Kenya Re- ring road and Mamboleo-Muhoroni-Kipsitet road.
After the meeting, and in line with the President's directives, she ordered the contractor of the Mamboleo flyover to ensure service lanes are completed by April when Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga are expected to open the stadium.Contractual setbacks
Construction of the Ahero Interchange commenced on June 7, 2017 and was expected to take 15 months and be completed by September 6, 2018. The deadline was pushed to December 4 but it was not met.
The previous contractor, who was working on the then Sh655.9 million project, terminated the contract on September 27, 2019 due to delayed payments.
Retendering for the remaining works led to a new contract sum of Sh809.9 million, with the tender awarded to Zhongmei Engineering Group Limited. The contract was signed on September 18, 2020 and the work commenced in November.
The completion period is 12 months from the date of commencement.
Another order was issued to the contractor of the 4.5 kilometer dual carriage Kisumu Boys–Mamboleo road, whose initial cost was Sh2.8 billion.
It commenced on July 11, 2016 and was to be completed on January 10, 2018. Despite extension of the deadline to December 21, 2019, the project stalled after contractor Israel based SBI Holdings suspended works on June 4, 2019 and terminated the contract on September 27, 2019 due to delayed payments.
At the time of termination, the project was 89 per cent complete.
The remaining works have been retendered and the Sh1.3 billion project awarded to China Railway No.10 Engineering company, which signed the contract on September 9, 2020. It also has 12 months to finish it.
Another project involves reconstruction of the 63-kilometer Mamboleo-Muhoroni–Kipsitet road, which is to be tendered in a week.
One contractor will construct the road from Mamboleo to Miwani, another from Miwani to Chemelil and a third one from Chemelil to Kipsitet.
After almost two decades of neglect, the construction is a relief to road users, especially truck drivers who transport construction materials to and from quarries, and sugar cane from farms to millers such as Muhoroni, Chemelil, Kibos and Miwani.
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