Its a sigh of relief for Malaba residents as expansion plans of the busy Malaba-Kanduyi highway into a dual carriageway by 2024/25 Financial Year enter into final stage.
Speaking at Kocholia KMTC after meeting with elders from Iteso community, the National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula disclosed that the dualling, if successfully done, will boost transport along that part of the Northern corridor, increase Kenya’s earnings from regional trade, limit cargo trucks’ traffic snarl-ups as well as scale down the number of accidents along the route.
According to Wetangula, the expansion of the infrastructure remains a top priority in President William Ruto’s administration as the government moves towards expanding sources of revenue collection which depends majorly on improved infrastructures.
The speakers challenged residents to reconsider working with the current regime to attract development and spearhead attaining of economic independence by 2025.
“I want to ensure I complete what I started as a senator for Bungoma county. When I was in the Senate, I was the one who convinced my colleagues to come to Malaba to inspect this road,” Wetang’ula said.
“In the next two weeks, you will be seeing surveyors coming here. The first phase of the expansion will involve the Malaba-Webuye highway before transformation works extend to Webuye, Eldoret, Nakuru, Naivasha and finally Nairobi,” he added.
Wetangula urged residents to cooperate with the government during the process of expansion assuring affected families that they will be compensated. “Those who will be affected by the project will be compensated.”
During President Uhuru Kenyatta’s second term in office, then Transport CS James Macharia said the dualling of the Nairobi-Malaba highway was an upper priority in Uhuru’s plans to boost passenger movement as well as the movement of cargo between the Port of Mombasa and Malaba.
Macharia’s predecessor Kipchumba Murkomen when he visited Malaba in May also hinted at kick-off of expansion works for the Malaba-Webuye-Eldoret highway.
Murkomen who toured the border town as he hosted his Ugandan counterpart Musa Ecweru said modernizing the highway will play a vital role in boosting Kenya’s trade with her neighbours.
The Malaba One Stop Border Post that is connected to the Malaba-Webuye highway, according to official data from Kenya Revenue Authority handles 80 percent of cargo from the Port of
Malaba border is the busiest crossing point for trucks using the Northern Corridor, which connects landlocked countries of Uganda, DR Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi to the Port of Mombasa.
Approximately 1,500 cargo trucks pass through the Malaba One Stop Border Post each day.
Uganda is the biggest destination for transit cargo through Mombasa, accounting for about 83.2 per cent of transit volumes, according to Kenya Ports Authority.
South Sudan takes up 9.9 per cent while DR Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda account for 7.2 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively. Over 80 per cent of these cargo transits through Malaba.
“We want to boost the economy of Western,” Wetang’ula said. “As these projects come, you should also work hard by utilising these assets to better the economy of border communities.”
The Speaker revealed plans by the national government to build a dry port on a 150-acre piece of land near Malaba town.
Teso North MP Oku Kaunya on the other hand challenged the government to address the menace caused by trucks on a daily basis noting that every week 2 lives are lost between Kanduyi junction and Malaba.