STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HON. MWAI KIBAKI, C.G.H., M.P., PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KENYA DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE ISIOLO-MERILLE RIVER ROAD, ISIOLO, 29TH JULY, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to officially open the newly tarmacked Isiolo to Merille River section of Isiolo-Moyale Road. The entire 136 kilometers from Isiolo to Merille River has been upgraded to a two- lane tarmac road at a cost of about 6.3 billion shillings.

The upgrading of this road is another transformational moment in the efforts of our Government to improve infrastructure in the Arid and Semi-Arid areas of our country. Indeed, I am happy to note that earlier this morning I launched construction of the Marsabit–Turbi section of the same road.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Isiolo-Moyale Road is the main road link between Kenya and Ethiopia. The upgrading of this road to a modern highway is expected to enhance trade between our two countries, while at the same time opening up Northern Kenya for more trade and business. When completed, Kenyans will be able to move easily and access the Ethiopian market of about 80 million people. I am aware that the investment required for construction of the over 500-kilometer highway is very high.

I, therefore, want to take this early opportunity to thank the African Development Bank for providing the Government with the loan funding for the development of this road. I also note that the European Union is financing the Merille-Marsabit section. We are most grateful to our development partners for supporting these projects which are also amongst the Vision 2030 flagship projects.

Let me also assure you all that we will continue to ensure that the funds availed by our friends in support of development projects are utilized prudently for the agreed purposes.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My government will continue investing huge resources in our infrastructure projects. Such investment is necessary to enable our people to travel and do business. Moreover, in this age of regional cooperation, we are also strengthening linkages with our neighbouring countries so that our traders can move goods across the borders more easily and cost-effectively.

As we continue to improve our road network, I wish to remind Kenyans that investments in infrastructure are very costly. It is, therefore, very important that we protect these investments from abuse or misuse. For instance, road signs, street lights and guard rails are necessary for the safety of all road users and must be protected. I urge all Kenyans to report to security agencies people found vandalizing or stealing these assets.

Above all, transporters must take responsibility in protecting our roads by desisting from overloading. I urge owners of heavy commercial vehicles to adhere strictly to the allowed load limits. This will ensure that roads in the country will last their design life. I direct the Ministry of Roads and Traffic Police not to relent, but to remain firm in ensuring that the axle load limits are strictly adhered to.

Finally, I want to thank all those who have worked tirelessly to ensure the successful completion of this road.

With these remarks, I now declare the Isiolo-Merille River road officially open.

Thank you and God bless you all.