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UNHAPPY NEIGHBOURS

Lari residents clash over flooding from dam

Those form Lari Scheme location armed themselves ready to attack their neighbours from Githirioni.

In Summary
  • Trouble started when residents of Githirioni, which is on the upper side, dug a big terrace, draining water to Lari Scheme location.
  • The scheme residents climbed the hill and headed to Githirioni to block the terrace.
Lari Scheme residents assess the damage on farms by water from a dam in neighbouring Githirioni
DISASTER: Lari Scheme residents assess the damage on farms by water from a dam in neighbouring Githirioni
Image: GEORGE MUGO

A prolonged dispute over how to drain a natural dam has persisted between residents of two locations in Lari subcounty in Kiambu.

On Tuesday, residents of Lari Scheme location armed themselves ready to attack their neighbours from Githirioni location.

Trouble started when residents of Githirioni, which is on the upper side, dug a big terrace, draining the water to Lari Scheme location. The water flooded homes and farms.

They claim some residents grabbed riparian land and blocked water ways  from Githirioni. Water from the area used to pass the place, drained into Ruiru swamp and then flowed to Ruiru dam in Githunguri subcounty.

"How can they just dig a terrace at night and let the water flow without considering that there are people living on the lower side? This is inhuman," George Mategenye, a resident, said.

Mategenye, who comes from Lari Scheme, said their houses were flooded and they spent sleepless nights.

The scheme residents climbed the hill and headed to Githirioni to block the terrace. But they faced resistance and government officials had to be called in.

A police officer controls residents of Lari Scheme and Githirioni locations after they crashed over draining of a dam in Githirioni location
A police officer controls residents of Lari Scheme and Githirioni locations after they crashed over draining of a dam in Githirioni location
Image: GEORGE MUGO

Lari Scheme chief George Macharia, Githirioni chief Peter Njoroge and Lari OCS Festus Okoth arrived shortly and addressed the issue.

Githirioni residents said some of them had been forced to move when the natural dam broke and flooded their homes, closed a road and destroyed people's farms.

"We have been living here for more than 30 years and this dam has never broken its banks. Today, we face a disaster since locals have been forced to move and rent homes. Our houses are decaying now; our food crops are also decaying," Gideon Gathea said.

Gathea said surveyors from Kiambu county government visited them with county water engineers and promised to drain off the water.

"Some people grabbed the waterways and the riparian land. The water from the dam drains to Ruiru swamp in Lari Scheme location. The county should move very fast to reclaim the riparian area" he added.

Deputy county commissioner Aaron Koros said the process was still ongoing.

He said they have held talks with people occupying lowlands where the water is expected to pass.

Edited by Henry Makori