The Kenya Roads Board (KRB) decision to host a crucial stakeholder meeting at the controversial President William Ruto owned Weston Hotel has fueled speculations that the roads sector agency has been captured by the Kenya Kwanza government.
The stakeholder`s engagement meeting that focuses on updating of the road register was held on February 21, 2023. A source familiar with the development cited that the choice of Weston Hotel was purely influenced by top officials at the agency hell bent to please the government of the day for their own personal reasons ranging from protecting their jobs to lobbying for lucrative kickbacks.
It is imperative to note that Weston Hotel was a no go zone for government agencies during the reign of former President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Apparently, tables have turned, and the style of doing business has completely changed even at the key roads’ agencies including KenHA, KeRRA and KURA where respective Director Generals are seen to be now favouring the ruling Kenya Kwanza wing.
Take for example the case of KeNHA Director General Eng. Kungu Ndungu who still appears to be irrelevant despite his struggle to cope with the current Roads Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen.
The besieged DG is said to be under investigation over multi billion scandals, a matter that has triggered tension at the agency following an alleged fresh in-fighting between the board and ministry officials.
Ndungu is said to have colluded with the immediate former CS James Macharia to loot billions of shillings, a similar case at Kura where his counterpart Eng. Silas Kinoti is said to be panicking, ostensibly haunted by alleged past dirty operations.
In particular, Ndungu is facing investigations into the Kibwezi-Kitui road which is said to be overpriced. Macharia’s right hand man is also under scrutiny for the Sh 28 billion Dongo Kundu bypass at the coast. Other allegations have also been levelled against his appointment to the position of the DG’s post which is said to have been flawed.
The former CS is said to have canvassed through intimidating the board. Kungu’ and roads Secretary Francis Gitau were fighting for the multi- billion Nairobi-Mau summit project. It’s imperative to note that both Eng.Gitau and Kungu’ applied for the DG post where Gitau emerged number one and Kungu’ emerged second.
Former CS Macharia seemingly used his position to deny engineer Gitau the opportunity of becoming KeNHA Director General. The power struggle between Gitau and Kungu has escalated to the board and management in equal measure.
The newly appointed KeNHA Chairperson Winfrida Wanjiku Ngumi was appointed by former CS Macharia and gazetted during Murkomen’s tenure. However, KURA`s Kinoti is said to be standing on shaky ground with frequent threats from a section of Kenya Kwanza politicians who insist that President Ruto should not let him go unpunished over his role in Azimio La Umoja campaigns ahead of the last general elections.
He is alleged to have pumped millions of shillings in support of Raila Odinga`s failed presidential bid and the son of Raila`s elder brother Oburu Odinga is said to be among the key people who collected money from his office . Jaoko Odinga was allegedly on many occasions heard bragging how he collected millions of shillings from Kinoti`s office for Raila`s campaign.
A reliable source revealed that despite Kinoti`s attempts to use Defense CS Aden Duale to mend fences with Ruto, the president is said to be bitter and unpredictable.
Insiders around President Ruto are also said to be bitter with Kinoti over the fact that he was politically used by Uhuru`s administration to deliberately deprive Ruto`s Rift Valley backyard of projects.
Instead, he allocated such projects to regions that were seen to be sympathetic to now retired President Uhuru and his failed project Raila Odinga.
The matter was so grave that at one point in 2021, Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei wanted Kinoti to be investigated over skewed allocation of road projects to punish regions that were marked to be supporting Ruto.
But a highly placed source at KURA revealed things have drastically changed in favour of Kenya Kwanza and a number of projects will soon be launched in Rift Valley, Musalia Mudavadi`s Western region and Mt. Kenya region courtesy of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua.
The source further revealed that Eng. Kinoti`s office is now frequented by elected politicians and brokers from Rift Valley who are lobbying for projects as well as competing for projects. The strange happenings at Kinoti`s office where persons from the Rift have taken over the list of visitors is a replica of what`s currently taking place in most government offices.
Some of these visitors have turned out to be conmen who are masquerading as individuals close to State House and are purporting to be able to influence the government of the day.