He was called back to the country to take up responsibility that was beyond his experience…

In 1932, Murang’a experienced the birth of a child who we now celebrate as one of the key players of engineering progress in the country.

He did his A level at Mangu High School and proceeded on to Makerere College before joining St.Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia and subsequently to McGill University where he did his Bachelor of Engineering in 1961.He then obtained a diploma in Highway and Traffic Engineering at Brighton College of Technology in UK.

Mbugua came back to Kenya from Canada (where he studied) when the country was almost getting its independence. There was a shortage of engineers and he was asked to return.80% of the civil engineers by then were South African but in 1964, they all left leaving a big gap in the country. The Ministry was left with primary British engineers and a handful of qualified Kenyans. This meant that Mbugua together with a few others who were qualified had to take on responsibilities that were beyond their experience to fill the void.

His rise to the permanent secretary position is attributed to his being one of Kenya’s first fully qualified engineers. His responsibilities as PS extended beyond roads and engineering. When the ministry of Transport and Communication was formed in 1980, it became responsible also for telecommunications, railways aviation and marine transport.He was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport until end of June 1983.

During his time in the ministry, he initiated several projects the major one being the rural access Roads and Re-gravelling programmes. This project aimed at opening up smaller communities and bringing them into the national economy. This made the country the first to engage in such a project in large scale.


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Kenya Engineer is the definitive publication of Engineers in East Africa & beyond and the official journal of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya. Kenya Engineer has been in publication since 1972.

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