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Flooded Mokowe parking bay, road pavements raise anger amongst transporters, passengers in Lamu

Transporters, drivers, passengers, and loaders are an unhappy lot owing to the failure of the county government of Lamu to construct the Mokowe parking bay and pavements.

The situation has subjected the users of the bay and pavements to abject suffering due to its dilapidated state.

The Mokowe Parking Bay and depot is the main pick-up and drop-off point for road users coming to Lamu from the rest of Kenya including Mombasa, Kilifi, Malindi, and Nairobi, among other places.

The Mokowe Depot is considered the oldest in Lamu, having served its functions since the 1950s.

Despite carrying out such crucial functions for decades, it is still underdeveloped and always flooded and stinking.

Speaking to Jahazi Media on Thursday, users of the Mokowe Depot called on the devolved government under the new governor, Issa Timamy to consider tarmacking or laying cabro pavements at Mokowe to enable them to use the vehicle parking bay any time they want, be it during sunny or rainy seasons.

Lamu transporters spokesperson Hussein Hafidh said it has always been difficult for them to park their vehicles at Mokowe parking bay, especially during rainy seasons.

“The place is always muddy. We’ve many potholes which are always full of rainy water. Sometimes we’re forced to park our vehicles on those paddles of water and it’s really inconveniencing us. Something needs to be done urgently,” said Mr Hafidh.

Omar Ahmed, a Nissan Shuttle driver plying the Lamu-Mombasa route questioned why the local government was taking forever to construct and maintain pavements and parking bays along all national and county roads within Lamu.

Mr Ahmed said apart from the Mokowe Depot, other places that face similar challenges include Hindi, Kibaoni, and Witu towns.

He said there are scenarios where road contractors have failed to establish proper drainage systems and kerbs for roads cutting across the towns.

 “This has always caused floods every time there is rain. Some areas are even left with potholes and ditches and this is a risk for us and our passengers. Both the county and national government should consider rectifying this,” said Mr Ahmed.

The transporters also noted that the sorry state of the Mokowe parking bay has also affected their businesses as passengers are always unwilling to wade through puddles of water or walk in the mud in order to access and board a vehicle.

“Many prefer taking a boda boda to Mokowe town where they can board a vehicle parked in a nice parking yard just to get the assurance that their clothes won’t get dirty unlike in Mokowe where one can even fall on a pool of dirty water as they look for a vehicle to board,” said Musa Athman.

Khadija Alwy, a resident and frequent traveler on the Lamu-Mombasa route appealed to the county government to at least put murram at Mokowe stage since users, especially women cannot hop and jump over the many potholes filled with dirty rainy water as they board vehicles. Lamu got its first tarmac road in 2021.

The 135-kilometre Lamu-Witu-Garsen road cost the national government Sh10.8 billion to be constructed to completion. 

It was officially opened by retired President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 20th last year, the same day that the former Head of State inaugurated the Lamu Port (Lapsset) in Kililana, Lamu West.

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