Two Murang’a MPs back plan, but demand water for residents
Some residents oppose the project and have threatened those who do not help stop it. Some leaders and residents support it — if they are well compensated for land
Two Murang’a MPs yesterday spoke on the controversial Sh6.8 billion Northern Water Collector Tunnel, but appeared undecided on whether the project should proceed.
The 11.8km-long tunnel, funded by the World Bank, will convey 142,000 cubic metres of water into Ndakaini River for use in Nairobi.
Earlier, the seven MPs in the county had been accused of staying mum over the matter. Their silence had caused confusion among residents, some of whom are strongly against the project and want leaders to lobby against it.
Senator Kembi Gitura, who has previously made public his opposition to the project, is said out of the country.
MPs Irungu Kang’ata (Kiharu) and Tirus Ngahu (Kangema) yesterday said they support the project but the national government should carry out reforestation of the Aberdare Forest and commit to connect all homes in the county to clean piped water.
“For the project to gain legitimacy, my main issue in this debate is that the people of Kiharu and the entire county of Murang’a should get water,” Kang’ata said at Parliament Buildings.
Ngahu added, “The bone of contention was that residents of the county were not going to get water... We want to ensure the agreements reached with the locals and leaders are adhered to.”
The two leaders said the initial idea to build a dam was conceived by then Prime Minister Raila Odinga and then Water minister Charity Ngilu.
They said they opposed the construction of the dam as it was not far from the Ndakaini Dam, which also supplies water to Nairobi county. The legislators added that the Jubilee administration came up with the idea of building a Sh6.8 billion water tunnel.
Cord senators James Orengo (Siaya) and Johnson Muthama (Machakos) who earlier addressed a press conference at the same venue said the project should be stopped. They asked the World Bank to pull out of the project.
Some residents took to social media, threatening to vote against leaders who do not help to stop the project.
Governor Mwangi Wairia on Tuesday said the Murang’a government supports the project. He accused Raila of using the project to introduce opposition politics in Central.
Some residents said they support the project, but want fair compensation for their land that is on the construction site or affected by the tunnel.
John Kuria, a resident from Kinyona village, questioned why the government started building the tunnel before it compensated all those affected by the construction.
An engineer inside the Northern Water Collector Tunnel in Makomboki, Kigumo, Murang’a county