EDITORIAL: Bomet bridge shameful

The Sh8.4 million bridge in Bomet East sub-county.
The Sh8.4 million bridge in Bomet East sub-county. PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NMG 

The Bomet government has, after a public outcry, decided to bring down an Sh8.4 million bridge that is said to have been built in a record four days, but not according to the bid measurements.

According to the Roads executive Philip Sawek, the contractor, who had not been paid, will bear the cost of the demolition. This development is both good news and a source of worry to the Kenyan taxpayer.

It is good news because the loss to the taxpayer may be reduced or the public may not lose at all, according to the executive, who says the contractor had not been paid a single cent, a claim that is subject to verification.

However, it is the perfect time to question the national and county governments’ practice of paying the contractors only after completing the work. Could it be that the reported shoddiness is a product of a struggle by the contracted firm to complete the works without means to buy the right materials and acquire the right expertise?

Worse, what happened to supervision by the county’s roads boss? The county government owes the Bomet people an explanation for sleeping on the job and the next logical step is to take the contractor through necessary steps leading to his punishment for unsatisfactory work.