Veronica Nguta, a resident of Akithi Ward in Meru County is hoping that the road she has been using for more than 50 years will one day be passable. According to her, the Ngudune-Thinyaine-Limoro road was first graded with murram by the European Union in 2009. No maintenance has been done on the roads since then.
She finds it hard to access important places like the market, school and hospital. Insecurity and accidents have been on the increase as well because of the poor state of the road.
In November 2019, Veronica and her neighbours invited the IFA Isiolo Team for a Film Screening and Community Discussion at Twarama Women’s Hall. After showing the Kilimo Maisha Yetu, Maji Haki Yetu Film, the community selected six community members to spearhead a plan for action with the aim of getting the road repaired.
This Community Action Team (CAT) was tasked to petition the Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) - Meru, about the state of the road. With guidance from IFA, the CAT delivered the petition to KeRRA. They were assured that the road works would begin January 2020.
In February 2020, no road works had started. The community met and decided that their CAT would visit KeRRA after they failed to honour their promise. When they met, KeRRA claimed that everything was ready and they were waiting for the rains to stop. However, the community did not feel reassured. They met again and this time planned for a peaceful demonstration, saying they were tired of constant lies by different government offices and leaders.
The protest day was set for 9th March 2020. The protesters arrived at the Limoro Centre early, despite an attempt by Tigania West Member of Parliament (MP) John Mutunga and his agents to stop the protest. About 200 peaceful protesters wearing grey t-shirts marched for 8Km along Ngudune-Thinyaine-Limoro road, starting from Limoro centre.
As the protest was going on, a tractor was quickly sent by the MP to grade the impassable parts of the road. The police then tried to stop the protest, claiming the road was being graded as they spoke. The protesters insisted that they had already lawfully notified the Police about the demonstration. They insisted they would go on to deliver their petition.
The CAT members delivered the petition to KeRRA, the Offices of the Tigania West MP and the Deputy County Commissioner.
One week after the protest, KeRRA placed a construction signboard and graded the road. The community now wants the road to be fully murramed.
Story By IFA Isiolo Team