Thika residents oppose planned dissolution of THIWASCO.

TDBA Chairman Mr. Alfred Wanyoike reads a statement on behalf of Thika residents and businessmen opposing Kiambu County Government's proposed merger of all the 9 water companies.
Twelve organisations representing various sectors of Thika residents and business community have threatened to take an unspecified stern action against the County Government of Kiambu if it goes ahead with its scheduled plans to dissolve Thika Water and Sewerage Company (THIWASCO).

Speaking during a press briefing on Monday, the residents described the county government’s action to disregard their input as unconstitutional and in contempt of the civil rights of the people of Thika.

Though admitting that in the recent times, THIWASCO may have experienced slight challenges in service delivery due to influx of population, they acknowledged the fact that it was among the best water companies in the country and the only one that had maintained a steady supply of clean and safe water over the years.

They argued that the county leadership ought to have engaged the residents and explained the pros and cons of their decision instead of arm-twisting the directors into some rushed and forced dissolution agreement.

Led by the Chairman Thika District Business Association (TDBA) Mr. Alfred Wanyoike, the residents reckoned that the proposed merger of all the 9 water companies within the county would disrupt their operations, thus affect productivity especially in companies that heavily depended on constant flow of water.

“As we all know, THIWASCO has very heavily invested in water provision and dissolving it will jeopardise the gains it has made over the years. That notwithstanding, why is the county government evading the people’s input if they mean well to the residents of Thika? Might there be that some ulterior motives behind the rushed merger??” posed Wanyoike.

Wanyoike feared that the acquisition of THIWASCO might be the county government’s key target, being the only water company to have operated in profit and able to serve its customers diligently.

“THIWASCO is being targeted with a view to supplement the failing companies which have failed to sustain their operations. Last year it registered a Sh. 700 million profit, money that will be spent to jumpstart the collapsing companies at the expense of Thika people who have been key to this success,” said Wanyoike.

(Related Story: Kinuthia Mwangi differs with Kiambu on clustering of water companies.)

Isaac Gikoi who represented the Kenya Association of manufacturers (KAM) feared that the merger would result to diversion of resources leading to poor services to the people of Thika.

Gikoi foresaw some job loses if at all the merger would interrupt water supply within the town as majority of the companies depended on a constant flow of fresh water to operate.

“The timing is very wrong and the manner in which it is being carried out is a bit clandestine. As manufacturers, the county government would have sought our views considering the fact that a hitch in water supply may drive most companies out of business,” said Gikoi.

Mt. Kenya Council of Imams & Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) Regional Coordinator Al Haji Shaban Gakere Bakari underscored the importance water to the Muslim community due to their religious obligation. He said that any hitch in the supply of water will affect over 70,000 Muslim faithful who depended solely on this precious liquid at least 5 times daily in 32 mosques across the sub-county.

Thika KNUT Executive Secretary Joe Mungai reckoned that as one of the greatest consumers of water in the region, teachers through their institutions needed to be heard when such crucial decisions were being made.

“Any disruption of water flow will severely affect learning in schools and thus we cannot take lightly any matter that will jeopardise our education and the health of our students. We need to be involved in this and if it is a matter of dissolving the water companies, all stakeholders must be accommodated in the composition of the new board(s),” said Mungai.

On behalf of the area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina, his Personal Assistant Mr. John Mwangi wondered why Governor Ferdinand Waititu failed to involve the legislator in the plans to dissolve the water company, despite Wainaina being the elected representative of the affected residents.

“As the representative of the people, the governor ought to have at least informed the MP of his plans rather than doing things behind his back. This move is suspect and we will not allow the county government to take us for a ride. If this continues, we will express our discontent the best way we know how,” warned the PA.

Mwangi said governance was never about flexing muscles but service the people who elected them.

“It doesn’t mean that the office of the Thika MP is opposed to the move but we are simply telling the governor, ‘come let’s reason together’. Period!”

Among those present were chairpersons of the bodaboda, hawkers and church leaders.
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