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County Officials Forced To Flee As Angry Residents Turn Down Offer For Water Project.

A resident of Munyu yell at the Kiambu Water CEC Esther Wanjiru Njuguna minutes before the meeting was disrupted and the county officers forced to flee to evade the wrath of the irate mob.
Senior Kiambu County Government officers were on Sunday forced to flee from irate villagers who disrupted a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss the way forward for a local community water project in Munyu area, Gatuanyaga Ward of Thika East Sub-County.

Trouble started when the high powered county government team led by the Water, Environment & Natural Resources CEC Esther Wanjiru Njuguna were about to respond to concerns raised by some of the residents concerning the acquisition of their water project by Thika Water and Sewerage Company (THIWASCO), who are the body mandated to run water services in the region.

In a well-orchestrated move, those who got the microphone to ask questions used the opportunity to charge the crowd into rejecting the proposals by the officials. Within a short time, the crowd became agitated and rowdy, forcing the C.E.C. to prematurely end the meeting and be escorted to her vehicle by security officers.

Speaking to the press after the disruption, Samuel Njuguna, a resident in the area explained that they were opposed to THIWASCO taking over the Munyu Water Project as they feared that it would result to them paying more for water.

“The county government (of Kiambu) through THIWASCO wants to hijack our community project. Where were they for all that time? We do not want them to interfere with our project. If they want to help the people of Munyu and Komo with clean water, let them start their own project. Do not bring politics into our project,” said Njuguna.

Ibrahim Maina complained that in areas where THIWASCO provided water services, residents complained of endless water outages that at times lasted for weeks.

“We never lack water anytime here and we will not let the county to get involved in this project as this will mean us going for days without water as it happens to other areas where the provide the service. This is a community project where residents contributed money for both equipment and personnel to run it on their behalf. We are not ready to surrender it to the county government who have not even paid a penny in the project,” said Maina.

Responding to these queries later in the evening, the CEC disputed the arguments saying that those who disrupted the meeting were hired goons from people with vested interests.

“We had gone to Gatuanyaga to respond to numerous complaints that had been brought to our attention by the people of Munyu themselves. Majority of those in the meeting were never opposed to the handing over of the project to THIWASCO. And I will not rule out politics in this whole saga,” said Ms. Njuguna.

She pointed out that it was the responsibility of the county government to ensure that all residents in their jurisdiction received adequate, clean and safe drinking water. She added that they were also mandated by law to ensure that people were not exploited by unscrupulous traders out to make a kill without putting the welfare of their customers before everything else.

“Right now they are charging sh.3 for a jerry can of water instead of the recommended THIWASCO price of sh. 1. The people manning the project are not trained to treat water. We even do not know how they are doing the treatment (if at all) or where they are getting the cleansing chlorine from. This is putting our people at risk,” she said.

Njuguna said that the county government had set aside sh.10 million for the expansion of this project treatment and piping so as to reach more people.

She reminded those opposing the takeover that the sole responsibility of water provision belonged to the devolved governments and there was no turning back.

“Provision of water to residents is solely under the county government and there should be no dispute about that. We are not turning back and we will definitely take over this project. This is a government project that was started in 1968 and no one should claim ownership,” she concluded.

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