How I grew up to become Minister for Roads
05 January 2016, 15:17
Nakuru - While growing up at Kanyotu village in Subukia constituency in early 70s, all Joel Maina Kairu wanted was to become a butcher like his father.
Maina who is the Nakuru County executive for roads and transport narrates that his first love was not always in books, but to succeed his father in the butchery business.
“Just like any other child growing up in rural area, all I ever wanted was to be like my father who owned a small butchery in our village,” he said.
The second born in a family of nine children, Maina had little hope of leading a different lifestyle from his age mates since most of the children from his village had the mentality that education ends in class 8.
But his life took an unexpected U-turn when he was in class seven after he helped two masons struggling to get the diagonal of a house by applying a simple mathematical formula he had learned in school to get the right measurements of a diagonal.
Soon, his siblings and parents would nickname him “engineer” because of helping the two men, which inspired him to start loving construction at a young age of 12 years.
And just like a mustard seed planted by the river side, Maina started getting fascinated with construction and some time he would even run away from home to spend time at construction sites just to observe the building works.
His parents at one point thought their son was going mental with his obsession for construction works but little did they know he was laying a foundation for his future engineering career.
Despite coming from a humble background, Maina was determined to prove to everyone in his village that there was life after class eight with his newly found love for construction.
After sitting his KCSE examinations in 1991, the Nakuru county executive for roads and transport was called to Nairobi University where he pursued a degree in Quantity Engineering, a course he knew nothing about when growing up at Kanyotu village.
Two years into campus, Maina found himself in crossroads as he wanted to change his career and become a priest after he scored 02 in a mathematical subject. But his close friend at the university urged him to continue with the classes.
“I felt very useless for scoring very low marks in my favorite subject and I almost took the easy way out by trying to change my course,” he said.
But today, Maina says he has no regrets over his choice of career after his ministry of roads and transport was ranked position one in the country according to a recent research done by Infotrack.
Before his appointment as the Nakuru County minister for roads and transport on 28th May 2013, Maina had worked in Public Works, Roads and Transport where he was the Provincial Quantity Surveyor based in Nakuru town.
A holder of masters in project management and currently pursuing his second PhD at Kabarak University, his time at Public Works was to oversight major projects which were being undertaken in Rift Valley region.
Key among the major projects carried out under his tenure include the construction of Baringo GTI auditorium, trauma center and Nakuru General Hospital among many others.
Upon being sworn into office by the Nakuru County Governor Kinuthia Mbugua to head the docket of roads and transport, his only vision was to create good accessible roads for County residents.
“I had a vision for this County when I was appointed and I shared with Governor Mbugua and he was very supportive of it,” he said.
The County executive believes his ministry carried the flag of Nakuru County high because he does not condone corruption among his staff.
In his first two years in office, Maina was able to gravel and grade over 1 400 Kilometers of roads across the County, a record which no other County has been able match.
Having worked for 16 years at the ministry of Public works in different managerial capacities, the County executive is adamant that his ministry has performed well since he does not spare contractors who fail to finalize their work in the stipulated time.
The father of four believes the cost of living in the County has also gone down since farm produce is now getting to the market on time.
Having been brought up in a village with no electricity, Maina prioritizes street-lighting across the county and plans to install over 300 streetlights in the County.
The success of his docket is a result of teamwork between the Governor and County assembly.
Part of his next major plan for the County is construction of a multi storage building in Nakuru town which will include bus stages and stalls.
The cool and collective County minister is optimistic that he will fully transform the transport sector in the County just as he had promised Governor Mbugua.
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