Pilgrims fear being stuck in highway traffic

By: MWAKERA MWAJEFA

Some Catholic faithful fear they may by stuck in traffic jams when they travel from Mombasa to Nairobi to attend Pope Francis’ Mass on Thursday.

The snarl-ups on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway occasioned by the heavy rains is worrying them.

Those who spoke to the Nation on condition of anonymity are worried that they may be held up at Taru.

“Our prayer is for the rains to spare us until we reach Nairobi for the Papal Mass,” said a believer.

Kenya Transport Association (KTA) has been blamed for the gridlock at Taru.

“Why should trucks be allowed on the road knowing very well the problem we have?” asked the Heavy Commercial Vehicles and Workers’ Union secretary-general John Muite.

SHODDY DEVIATION

According to him, only essential services such as emergencies and public travel should be allowed to ease congestion.

However, a rival union, Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Secretary-General blamed the mess on a Chinese contractor for building a shoddy deviation.

“The contractor should take blame. If it occurs again, we would sue him for the delays,” said the union.

Contacted by phone KTA chairman Kiprop Bundotich dismissed the accusations.

“We are not to blame. We cannot keep our trucks off the road because of traffic snarl-ups. That would be catastrophic,” he said.

Describing the recent jams as a catch-22 situation, the chairman heaped blame on the contractor, saying he had the provision to create a deviation.

Meanwhile, Coast Regional Traffic boss Martin Kariuki has assured those travelling for the Pope’s visit that they would not be caught in traffic jams.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION