CLAIM SECRECY

Residents disrupt meeting to discuss Sh20bn Thika dam project

Thika MP's aide claims the legislator was not aware of the forum.

In Summary

• Ndarugu 1 dam is earmarked to supply clean drinking water to over 1.5 million people in Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado counties. 

• Irate residents told consultants that they’ll only cooperate when all stakeholders were brought on board.

Conveners of the Ndarugu 1 Dam Water Supply Project stakeholders' meeting at Komo Primary School enter a company vehicle to leave the meeting.
Conveners of the Ndarugu 1 Dam Water Supply Project stakeholders' meeting at Komo Primary School enter a company vehicle to leave the meeting.
Image: JOHN KAMAU

A stakeholders’ meeting to discuss the construction of a Sh20 billion dam project in Komo area in Thika constituency was on Saturday disrupted by residents.  

The residents claimed the proposed Ndarugu 1 Dam Water Supply Project is being carried out without involving key stakeholders who will be affected by the project.

The project is being undertaken by Tanathi Water Works Development Agency.

A team of consultants who had convened the meeting to collect views of the locals cut short their session at Komo Primary School.

Irate residents told the consultants that they’ll only cooperate when all stakeholders were brought on board.

Area MP Patrick Wainaina was not aware of the meeting and only learnt of the project through Tanathi’s website according to his personal assistant John Mwangi.

“How do they hold a meeting to discuss a project of this magnitude without the knowledge of local leaders and key stakeholders?  This is unacceptable and the office of the Thika MP will not allow the meeting that is shrouded in secrecy,” Mwangi said.

Mwangi claimed the experts were planning to conduct a feasibility study silently so that they can go back and submit reports okaying the project.

“They are silently taking advantage of locals who have less knowledge of the project. I’m also privy to information that they are not allowing those who are against the project in their meetings,” Mwangi said.

Residents who spoke to the Star said that there are several land disputes in the area since the majority do not have title deeds for their parcels. 

They said the situation could complicate the compensation process should the project commence.

“Land issues here are complex and we would want them to be solved first because we risk losing our properties should the project proceed,” Samuel Kabuta, a resident. said. 

Kabuta said they will not allow the project to commence until all matters are settled and an agreement reached regarding compensation. 

He said that the project was proposed in the 1990s when Komo area was marked as the catchment area for the dam.

According to the Tanathi website, Ndarugu 1 Dam Water Supply Project aims to serve over 1.5 million people in Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado counties with clean drinking water.

As part of the project, a 35 metre-high dam with a capacity of 225 million cubic metres will be constructed. The treatment plant will have the capacity to supply 55,000 cubic metres of clean water daily.

The bidding process for the project was closed on January 31, 2017, and an evaluation of the bidders is ongoing.

However, timelines for commencement of the project have not been indicated.

(edited by O. Owino)