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

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - ALICE WAITHERA AND GIDEON KETER @TheS­tarKenya

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.

/ALICE WAITHERA

An en­gi­neer in­side the North­ern Wa­ter Col­lec­tor Tun­nel in Makom­boki, Kigumo, Mu­rang’a county

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