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Bad roads killing business in Eastleigh

Impassable, muddy roads have been blamed for slow business in Eastleigh. Residents have expressed bitterness and frustration over the slow pace of road construction in the area.

They said their customers have stopped shopping in the formerly popular Garissa Lodge and other buildings known for competitive clothes and shoes prices, owing to bad roads and overflowing drainage systems.

Road construction has lagged behind schedule under circumstances the traders said they did not understand.

Close down

Mr Mohammed Hassan who owns a clothes shop said business had been low since it started raining about a week ago.

“Many of our customers are afraid of the muddy roads. At this rate we might close down,” he said.

He said they were also forced to use boda bodas to their houses as the roads were closed for construction. Getting to the market by matatu costs around Sh40 from other parts of the estate, but riding on a boda boda you pay Sh100.

They said slow movement of the motorbikes and pedestrians also encouraged thugs to attack, especially at night.

The traders said the raw sewage flowing in the roads following breaking of pipes during the road works had resulted in a health hazard.

Mrs Jane Kimani, who deals in clothes said: “We are calling on the Government to hasten completion of the roads.” 

The residents have held several demonstrations, protesting at the slow pace of construction, but to no avail.

Workers at the road site, however, said they were faced with many problems.

Mr Michael Achieng and Muhammed Musa said the contractor had issued a notice to the Kenya Power to move electricity poles in the road reserve and that had not been done.

They also blamed the residents for dumping waste, saying it was blocking work.

Kenya Urban Roads Authority spokesman John Cheboi said the slow pace of the construction could be attributed to several factors.

Mr Cheboi said encroachment on road reserves by traders and failure by Kenya Power to move electricity lines had hit his work schedules.

He said telephone lines, electricity poles, water pipes and sewerage pipes on the road had to be moved.

Even as the residents complained, the boda boda operators were celebrating. They regretted that the road would be completed, saying they would no longer make money from traders in the area.