Lamu West CDF is set to spend Ksh12 million to build an 8-kilometre concrete paving block (cabro) road connecting Matondoni area to Amu Old Town.
The road construction, which will take at least two months to complete and has faced delays due to the COVID-19 crisis, will be undertaken by Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRa).
It is expected that the road will aid in opening up Matondoni area to easier access. Boda boda operators currently charge as much as Ksh 500 from Amu Old town to the area due to lack of a viable road while a private boat charges up to Ksh 2000.
A public boat which is only available in the morning charges Ksh 200 but with the Matondoni-Amu Old town road complete, boda boda fares could drop the fare to as low as Ksh 100.
Speaking to KNA during the launch of the road construction, Lamu West Deputy County Commissioner Louis Ronoh hailed the road as a welcome initiative that would not only open up Matondoni area to the wider Amu area but would also improve security in the region.
“Response to human and wildlife conflicts particularly hyena attacks on donkeys and other livestock will be quicker with the road being built, as KWS will now easily access the area,” he said.
Hyena attacks on livestock are common in Matondoni area, with KWS response time to such cases criticised in the past for being too slow due to the area being inaccessible.
“Matondoni which is an agricultural village will now have easier and faster access to the Lamu Old Town, to sell their produce,” Ronoh added.
He warned residents to avoid encroaching on road reserves adding that those found culpable would be prosecuted.
The sentiments were echoed by KeRRA Roads’ officer Leonard Ouma who urged residents to refrain from building on road reserves in the hope of future compensation.
He said that there would be no compensation for those found to have encroached on road reserves and warned that such people would have their structures demolished.
Ouma also said that the road was being built in response to the growing needs of the Amu Island to be better connected and that it was in the interest of all residents to adhere to the road reserves design and desist from encroaching.
Matondoni resident Fatma Bwanamzee said that the cabro road would benefit expectant women and the sick access the King Fahad Referral Hospital easily and affordably.
“Matondoni, though in Amu Island, has long been marginalised from the rest of Amu Oldtown, but with the new road, the area will expand,” Jurmy Athman a former area chief intimated.
Lamu West MP Stanley Muthama who spoke to KNA on phone said that the Matondoni-Amu Old Town road had been on the cards since his election and was a pledge he made to residents that he would ensure it was made during his tenure.