Agony of travelers in West Pokot as Lonyangapuo seeks President’s intervention

Youths carrying a man while crossing Chepar river, whose bridge was submerged in water
Youths carrying a man while crossing Chepar river, whose bridge was submerged in water

Travelers along the Sebit-Lomut -Chesegon road in West Pokot County are facing difficulties when crossing rivers after the collapse of two major bridges, Sebit and Chepar, following heavy downpour. A teacher drowned on Friday last week at river Sebit, and commuters at Chepar bridge are stranded and transportation has been hampered due to an increase in water levels on the rivers.

Travelers are forced to be carried, paying more than Kshs 100 while crossing the bridges as vehicles such as heavy duty trucks remain stranded.

Residents of Muino, Sigor, Lomut and other adjoining areas such as Masol and Nyangaita are lamenting over the collapsed bridge.

During the weekend, area Governor John Lonyangapuo got stranded for two days after it rained heavily forcing him to hold some meetings supposed to be held in Sigor trading center at Chesta area.

Lonyangapuo, who said he is seeking an audience with President Uhuru Kenyatta, revealed that the situation of the collapsed bridges has affected commercial activities in and around the communities. “We want the President to visit this place,” he said, “I’m going to look for him to personally intervene.”

Youths carry a motorbike while crossing Chepar river
Youths carry a motorbike while crossing Chepar river

He also said that transportation along the only Kitale–Lodwar highway road connecting Turkana County and South Sudan has been paralyzed and businesses affected.

Lonyangapuo faulted the Kenya National Highways Authority for delaying the bridge’s renovation and road construction, terming the authority officers lazy, careless and disobedient.

West Pokot woman representative Lillian Tomitom who also got stranded pleaded with the national government to come to their aid and speed up the construction of the bridge to allow for easy movement of people and goods.

The Chairman of the Vehicle operators in the area Mr. Vincent Simiyu aka Onyio called for speedy government intervention. “This has affected movement and transportation of people and goods as fares have hiked and doubled during this period of heavy rains being experienced in the area. Commuters are forced to incur more expenses and use the longer routes through Marich-Kainuk, Akulo, Lotungot and Nyangaita to reach Lomut more than 300 kilometers away,” he said.