Ann Nyambura Ndugire, a 76-year-old Nyandarua-based female contractor and prominent farmer, also affectionately known as “Cucu”, is dead.
Cucu Nyambura gained recognition in the county after being contracted by the local government to install cabro paving blocks in Ol Kalou town, transforming it from a dusty and weed-infested area to a beautifully paved town.
However, the successful flagship contract funded by the World Bank came at a steep price as the Nyandarua County Government failed to pay her for the job, leaving her with a debt of Sh70 million.
Ms Ndugire spent months pleading for payment, but all her efforts were in vain.
She was forced to take loans to fund the job and pay her employees, which led to her being heavily indebted.
In August last year, Cucu Nyambura went viral after she chained herself outside the Nyandarua governor’s office to demand her dues.
A year earlier, in 2021, she was rescued by neighbours while trying to commit suicide.
Her son, Mr Raphael Ndugire, stated that his mother’s health condition began to deteriorate during the time she was fighting for payment, leading to several protests from residents.
She resorted to begging friends and employees to save her home from the auctioneer’s hammer and even sold almost every family asset.
Her situation worsened when she was unable to settle the wages of her employees, most of whom were mothers and youths from Huruma slums in Ol Kalou town.
Ms Ndugire’s efforts to compel the county government to clear her dues were unsuccessful, and she was unable to afford the lawyers needed to pursue the case.
She was left a very depressed woman, in and out of the hospital, without proper medical care for lack of money.
Residents, friends, and employees of the construction company believe that her death was a result of the cumulative stress, pressure, and pains she underwent while fighting for payment.
In refusing to pay her dues, the county government claimed it needed to audit the job done.
Ms Ndugire’s death is a tragic reminder of the need for prompt payment of contractors and small business owners, who play a crucial role in the development of the country.
As her son, Mr Ndugire, put it, “It’s sad that our government can treat its citizens like this. We hope that her death will not be in vain, and that justice will be served.”
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