September 25th 2017

Top Stories / National

Collapsed Sigiri Bridge a blow to Jubilee tainted score card

The project was launch in 2015 after 11 people were killed while trying to cross the River Nzoia and COVEC started building it in February 2016. It has been one of the serving government’s flagship undertakings, with its completion set for July.

By Derrick Kirakadkiraka@kenyafreepress.comThursday, 29 Jun 2017 17:05 EAT

Sigiri Bridge

Following the collapse of the Sigiri Bridge in Budalang’i, Busia County, the Jubilee administration has come under intense scrutiny from the opposition, who accused them of rushing projects so as to boost their scorecard so as to win the favour of the country ahead of the general elections.

Speaking to a crowd in Siaya Town on Monday on the day the bridge came down, NASA flagbearer Raila Odinga noted that the bridge collapsed because standard specified for tender applications were not met, stating that the project was being rushed to offer the President and his Deputy William Ruto mileage as campaigns ahead of the elections intensify countrywide.

The Sigiri Bridge, which was under construction by the Chinese Overseas Construction and Engineering Company (COVEC) to reduce deaths of area residents due to flooding in the river came down early Monday morning due to its weight, injuring over 20 construction workers.

The bridge came down just two weeks after the President had visited it for inspection, on June 14th.he stated that he was pleased with the work, with the bridge set to be open for use in mid-July. It is said to have cost Sh1.2 billion but the figure has since been a product of ridicule after the collapse.

The government has since suspended the construction and has launched investigations into the matter to rule out foul play, according to Infrastructure PS John Mosonik.

The project was launch in 2015 after 11 people were killed while trying to cross the River Nzoia and COVEC started building it in February 2016. It has been one of the serving government’s flagship undertakings, with its completion set for July.

According to survivors, most of whom were the construction workers, the bridge began shaking in the middle before it collapsed, with images from the scene showing that a lack of enough pillars could have led to the weight of the bridge being unevenly distributed.

COVEC project manager Jerome Xhu He however refuted that that could be the cause of what led to the collapse of the bridge, stating that the construction had been made as it was to allow for the passage of boats.

While COVEC admitted responsibility and has said it will cater  for the hospital bills of all those injured in the incident, more should be done to properly inform the public on what exactly happened that could have led to the collapse of the bridge meant to alleviate the fears of flood washing Budalang’i residents as they crossed the flood-prone River Nzoia.

While the projects being undertaken by Jubilee is commendable, care must be taken not to come at the expense of the lives of people. With the government out to seek re-election and therefore out to prove to Kenyans that the past five year have not been dud, they should instead, focus on letting the projects, even those yet to be competed, to speak for themselves. Rushing to complete them will only lead to fatal consequences, if not in the near future, then in generations to come.

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