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Murkomen forms 11-member committee to investigate JKIA mess

By Hilary Kimuyu November 16th, 2023 3 min read

Cabinet Secretary for Roads and Transport Kipchumba Murkomen has formed an 11-member committee to investigate the state of Kenya’s airports and make recommendations within 28 days.

Speaking after a tour of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi, Mr Murkomen said the team has been mandated to identify immediate remedial measures to improve facilities and passenger comfort at JKIA, Wilson and Moi International Airport in Mombasa.

“The experience over the past few months has raised questions about the state of our airport infrastructure facilities and I have therefore formed a technical committee to investigate the state of our airports,” he said.

He added that the terms of reference will be to access the state of infrastructure facilities, access the state of electro-mechanical facilities, review the work carried out by contractors over the last two years and identify immediate remedial action to be taken.

The committee will be chaired by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) Director Eng. Walter Ogolla and will include, among others, George Ngugi and Maj. Nepee Iltasayon, who is also a director at the state agency.

Other members include Martin Wamae (State Department of Public Works), Richard Cherop (KCAA), Eng. Christine Nzai, Eng. Judith Kimeu (KAA), Eng. James Mbui (KAA), Architect Lawrence Mochama, Attorney Sharon Asiyo, and Eng. Fredrick Kabunge.

The CS added that the committee may co-opt other members as necessary and is expected to submit an interim report within the next 14 days and the final report within 28 days. He said the JKIA was aging as it was commissioned in 1978.

“This infrastructure has not received the adequate maintenance as required,” he said.

“I have heard some people say that Murkomen is lamenting and it is one year, he should have done this and that… Infrastructure issues in a country must be planned for over a long period. We don’t want to patch things up here and there… That’s why one year is not enough to do a complete overhaul of the infrastructure that has been left in such a dilapidated state,” the CS said.

He said that when he was appointed Transport CS a year ago, he promised to deal with the case pending in the courts in Paris and China. He confirmed that the Green Terminal site is now free. He said the government will construct a modern terminal.

CS Murkomen speaks on JKIA renovations and the Diani Airport Expansion

This comes after the CS blamed the Jubilee government of former President Uhuru Kenyatta for the leaking roof of the recently renovated international terminals 1C and 1E at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Mr Murkomen claimed that the previous regime had presided over projects where substandard work was done.

His statement came after a video went viral showing flooded floors at the international departure terminals, where passengers queue to check in before travelling abroad.

The roof was falling apart and staff had placed containers on the floor to try to collect the water, but it was an exercise in futility.

CS Murkomen also claimed that the leaking roofs were the result of burst water pipes in the ceiling of the terminal.

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua also came to his defence on Wednesday, blaming the former president for the infrastructural challenges at JKIA.

Speaking at the 30th Convention of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya and the 18th World Council of Engineers at Pride Inn Beach Resort in Mombasa, the DP defended Mr Murkomen for saying on Tuesday that it was Uhuru’s tenure that was to blame for poor work by contractors and engineers.

“I have seen some people castigating CS Murkomen for what he said about the leaking roofs at JKIA… people in this country are allergic to the truth. A lot of money was spent on JKIA but today it’s a shame,” he said.

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