Residents call for water CS sacking over delayed Karimenu dam payout

Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 08:00 | By
CS Water and Sanitation Alice Wahome.
CS Water and Sanitation Alice Wahome. PHOTO/Print

A section of residents affected by construction of Sh24 billion Karimenu II Dam in Gatundu North, Kiambu, have called on President William Ruto to sack Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome.

They want President William Ruto to remove the CS from office accusing her of inability to resolve longstanding compensation dispute between them and the government.

Despite its completion and commissioning last year, locals who ceded their land parcels to facilitate the dam’s construction are yet to be paid Sh4.2 billion in compensation.

 At the centre of a seething row between the government and locals is delayed compensation of land owners some of whom still live near the waterbody.

While some locals were not paid in phase two of the project, others who were not in the original list of affected persons were later requested to offer their land to accommodate the dam’s buffer zone.

Currently, water from the dam has been submerging their homes, having already swamped  plantations including maize, bananas, napier grass among other crops.

The locals who spoke during a meeting with area MP Elijah Njoroge Kururia expressed fears that should El Nino rains begin as predicted by the weatherman; the heavy downpour could cause calamities in the area.

The residents from Kiriko, Gathanji, Gituamba and Iruri villages singled out the possibility of the unusual rain causing deaths as the water that has been seeping from underground could increase and as a result make their homes uninhabitable.

Led by Pius Ndung’u Mutugu and Rose Wambui, the locals told journalists that the project they initially thought would positively turn around water scarcity in the country is now a deathbed and continues to impoverish them as they have no land to cultivate and develop, a challenge that has made them beggars.

“It’s sad that the government is waiting for deaths to happen around the dam for them to start compensating us to facilitate our relocation. We currently have no place to go other than wait and die here unless the government proactively facilitates our relocation. We cannot build, farm or conduct any other development on our land as we wait to be relocated. We have become beggars in our motherland” said Mutugu.

They accused CS Wahome of highhandedness in resolving their compensation noise and failing to connect them with water from the water resource forcing them to cheat death as they draw water from the unfenced dam.

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