President Uhuru Kenyatta today launched the tarmacking of a key road that will accelerate economic growth of the Lower Eastern region and improve the lives of residents.
The upgrading to bitumen standards of the 192 kilometre road which runs from Kibwezi through Ikutha, Mutomo, Kitui town, Kabati to Migwani will cost Ksh 18.4 billion.
Speaking after the launch at Mutomo township in Kitui County, President Kenyatta said upgrading of the road fulfils one of the Jubilee Government's social economic goals for the region.
The President termed the road 'a major artery' that will open up the counties of Kitui, Makueni and Machakos for rapid development.
"This road will bring down transport costs and attract investors leading to creation of employment for the youth in the region and beyond," President Kenyatta said.
He added: "For a long time the people of this region have wanted to see this road tarmacked. We are now fulfilling that dream."
The Head of State asked the contractor to ensure locals, especially the youth, get employed in the road project.
The project consists of the construction and rehabilitation of the existing road to an international trunk road standard with seven metres wide single carriageway and two meters wide shoulders on each side. It is part of the Mombasa - Mombasa -Isiolo -Addis Ababa road transport corridor and will include construction of township roads in Kibwezi, Ikutha, Mutomo and Kitui towns.
President Kenyatta emphasized the Jubilee Government's all-inclusive approach to development and its determination to ensure no part of the country is marginalised.
He asked leaders to put the interests of Kenyans first and shun divisive politics.
"Kenyans want their lives to be improved and that cannot be achieved through divisive politics and discrimination," President Kenyatta said.
The President pointed out that his administration is focused on lifting the lives of Kenyans across the country, citing the example of the connection to electricity where 5.3 million households countrywide have power compared to only 2.2 million that enjoyed the facility before the Jubilee Government came to office in 2013.
"Before we came to office, only 7,000 households had electricity in Kitui South constituency. Today, over 22,000 households are connected to power. And those are the developments the Jubilee Government stand for," President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta also said almost all schools in Kitui county are now connected to electricity.
He said the Government has also invested over Ksh 800 million in the provision of medical equipment under the Managed Equipment Service in Mwingi and Kitui hospitals. The equipment includes theatre, kidney, X-ray and ICU machines.
Deputy President William Ruto, who accompanied the President, said the Jubilee Government wants the Kibwezi - Migwani road tarmacked for the benefit of the people of the region and does care who will claim credit for it.
"What is important to us is that we are constructing this road. It does not matter if some people will claim credit for it. The truth will always come to the open," the Deputy President said.
He said the Government has also invested Ksh 100 million for the construction of a Medical Training Centre, adding that three technical training institutes will also be constructed in Kitui South Constituency at a cost of Ksh 300 million.
On exploitation of minerals, the Deputy President said the national Government has played its part and now it is upon the county government to to facilitate the mining of minerals for the benefit of the residents of Kitui county.
Kitui leaders including, Senator David Musila and Kitui South Member of Parliament Rachel Nyamai, thanked President Kenyatta for launching the construction of the road that will boost the economy of the three Ukambani counties.
Other speakers were Governors Kivutha Kibwana (Makueni), Alfred Mutua (Machakos) and Kitui Deputy Governor Peninah Malonza among others.