• Jane Nyambura, 78, said they had yet to be compensated for their one acre in Kariua village seven months after the contractor occupied it.
• The dam’s treatment plant is being constructed on the parcel.
Construction works at the Sh24 billion Kariminu II Dam in Gatundu North stalled for over five hours on Tuesday after a family blocked the contractor from accessing the site over land compensation.
Jane Nyambura, 78, said they had yet to be compensated for their one acre in Kariua village seven months after the contractor occupied it. The dam’s treatment plant is being constructed on the parcel.
Nyambura said they are owed Sh3.07 million by Athi Water Services Board —the project’s implementing agency. She said they were duped into releasing their land before getting full payment.
On Tuesday, the family was joined by other villagers when they barricaded the entrance to the site.
“They told us the money would be deposited in my account in two months' time. Since then, they have been going round in circles. We are suffering yet we have every right to be duly compensated. We will not let them work here until they pay in full,” Nyambura said.
She said the money was initially delayed by a succession row but the matter was solved in July last year and all requisite documents were forwarded to AWSB.
Nyambura said she had initially received Sh3 million, being compensation for crops, structures and trees that were on her land. She used the cash to buy half-an-acre parcel within the same village and constructed a house.
Nyambura has not finished paying for the land and hopes to clear the rest once she is paid by AWSB. She said the owner of the land is on her neck demanding his dues.
“I’m expecting to complete settling the arrears with the remaining compensation money so that I can finally find peace,” she said.
Vincent Muigai, Nyambura’s son, told journalists that the delayed compensation has made her mother fall ill and she’s now suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.
“My mother is now sick and stressed because of the delays in releasing her money. She is being nagged by the people she owes money, including the person who sold her the piece of land where she’s living now. We are pleading with the relevant authorities to speed up and pay my mother what is rightfully hers,” Muigai said.
His sister Ruth Wairimu urged AWSB to address the matter swiftly to end the stalemate and end the suffering of their ageing mother. They allowed the contractor back on site after area administration officers intervened.
AWSB officials present declined to talk to the press. But Nyambura told journalists she had talked with the officials and reached a consensus.
“They have told me the money will be wired into my account in the course of this week. I am now contented that they have finally heard my prayers,” she said.
The project was previously marred by standoffs among Kiriko, Gathanji, Buchana and Kariminu residents over compensation, but the government solved the stalemate, hence paving the way for commencement of the project.
The project is being funded by the government and the China Exim Bank. It is being implemented through a joint venture between International Holding Corporation and Shanghai Municipal Engineering Design Institute.
The entire project covers 600 acres. It will take 36 months to complete. The contract for construction of the dam was signed in May 2017. It will have a height of 59 metres, with a 26.5 million cubic metres storage volume, and produce 70,000 cubic metres of water per day.
Residents of Kiambu will be the major beneficiaries as 80 per cent of the water will go to Thika, Juja and Ruiru constituencies, with the remaining 20 per cent going to Nairobi.