The Nyamache Bridge, located in the Bobasi constituency of Kisii County, collapsed on Monday, April 15, 2024. This incident follows its collapse in May last year, in 2023. The bridge, primarily used by pedestrians and vehicles to access Nyamache, had served as a vital link for the community.

Constructed during the colonial era, the bridge was made of aging corrugated iron and metal. Over time, due to heavy rains typical in the Gusii region, the bridge was swept away by floodwaters, causing the asphalt surface above it to rupture.

In the absence of the bridge, residents of the area have resorted to using a makeshift wooden crossing, facilitated by their local councilor for Masige East, Michael Motume. This temporary solution has been in place since the bridge’s collapse, causing inconvenience to the locals.

The collapse of the Nyamache Bridge has also disrupted government services, as citizens seeking assistance from the Deputy Commissioner’s office in the area now have to navigate alternative routes through Nyamache town.

Moreover, students attending the Nyamache Medical Training College have faced difficulties in accessing their educational facilities. Additionally, vehicles transporting tea leaves to the Nyamache factory have encountered delays on internal roads due to the absence of the crucial bridge.

To pressure stakeholders into swift repairs, Councilor Michael Motume and his counterpart for Masige West, Jacob Bagaka, led peaceful demonstrations expressing their dissatisfaction. The bridge serves as a demarcation between the representative areas of Masige East and Masige West.

During the protests, demonstrators carrying banners called upon the Bobasi MP, Innocent Obiri, to exert pressure on the relevant authorities for expedited bridge repairs. Councilor Motume lamented the continued existence of colonial-era infrastructure, labeling it as shameful for the current century.

The demonstrators issued a 14-day ultimatum to MP Obiri to provide a response; otherwise, they threatened to resume their protests. Despite marching through Nyamache for several hours on Monday morning, the demonstrators were met with tear gas when attempting to enter the MP’s office to deliver their grievances.

Police officers stationed at the headquarters dispersed the crowd after they began rattling the office’s gate, resorting to the use of tear gas.

Kisii County is among several regions in the country grappling with poorly maintained bridges. Earlier this year, comedian Eric Omondi crowdfunded for the construction of a bridge in the Bomachoge Chache constituency following the circulation of a viral video depicting a child risking their life by crossing a swollen river on a dilapidated wooden bridge to attend school, a scene that resonated deeply with social media users.