Fury over Sh4.3m earthworms project in Meru

Supporters say it would make cheap organic feed for poultry, dairy cows and fish

In Summary

• Project had not been initiated by time of audit in November last year, no assessment done

• MCAs said Health, Water and Education should have been given priority over earthworms 


Earth worms./FILE
Earth worms./FILE

Auditor General Edward Ouko has questioned the use of Sh4.3 million to raise earthworms and black flies in Meru without an assessment. 

The  2017-18 audit raised questions about raising earthworms and black flies in the 45 wards.

About  Sh2.5 million was used to provide 1,000 eco-tosha materials for earthworms and Sh.1.8 million to buy 600 plastic tanks. 

The aim was to make organic feed for poultry, dairy cows and fish.

The county says it never started for lack of funds. It had not been initiated by the time of the audit in November last year.

There are calls to sack the Agriculture executive for frivolous and unnecessary spending.

Mikinduri MCA Gabriel Chokera wants Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi to sack Agriculture executive Karwitha Kiugu.

He said she implemented the project yet the county assembly had not approved it. 

“This project is putting MCAs to shame. Residents think we participated in the shoddy job,” Chokera said.

He said MCAs will soon table a motion to impeach Kiugu for the poor work.

Resident Mugambi Kimathi said it is a shame for the county to implement such a project instead of prioritising health, water and education.

Former Meru Governor Peter Munya said the project is laughable.

“Some things are unbelievable. Call me a doubting Thomas but I can’t believe that public funds were used to buy earthworms and flies. I was shocked to earn that this was in the Auditor General’s report,” Munya said.

He said Governor Kiraitu should be truthful when he appears before the Senate Public Accounts Committee.

Last week Meru, Senator Mithika Linturi also questioned the project.

He said the gloomy state of affairs in Meru as captured in the Auditor General's report of 2017-2018 should worry residents.

Some MCAS have termed the project wasteful. Ward Representatives John Ntongai, Jediel Mauta, Adamson Muriki and Kimathi Ithibua said they would summon the people responsible for the earthworms project.

However, Imenti North subcounty administrator Anderson Kathendu has defended the project.

“This will cut costs for farmers as the feeds will be cheaper and readily available. Those spreading falsehoods about the project should stop,” Kathendu said.

He ran unsuccessfully for Meru senator in 2017.  

County Agriculture committee chairman Paul Bagine also defended the project. He said it was meant to support poultry farming but did not start as funds were not available.

(Edited by Pamela Wanambisi)