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January 19, 2019

Bonyunyu Dam to be built despite demos by residents

 	Residents of Gachuba ward in Nyamira block roads leading to the site where the controversial dam will be done.
Residents of Gachuba ward in Nyamira block roads leading to the site where the controversial dam will be done.

Construction of the controversial Sh5 billion Bonyunyu Dam in Nyamira county will go ahead, despite protests by residents.

The dam will end the water shortage in Kisii town and environs.

Residents say about 2,000 people will be displaced, but officials say only three families will be affected.

On Tuesday, a man was shot dead by police after he allegedly confronted surveyors with a machete. The killing came after three days of demonstrations against the project. Scores of protesters were injured.

But the Lake Victoria Water Services Board on Thursday said the project will continue. It rejected claims the community was not involved.

“The project will go on. I’ve spoken to MP Shadrack Mose. He has given the green light to take the project to the next level. Other stakeholders and locals support it,” board CEO Petronilla Ogut said in her Kisumu office.

She said 20 public participation forums were held, including meetiings at Gachuba, Rigena and Miriri on January 8.


“We also took 50 community members to Chemususu Dam and they were satisfied with the project,” Ogut told the Star.

She blamed incitement by some residents.

“Unfortunately, some people are peddling propaganda, retrogressive politics and misinformation that the dam will have hippos, crocodiles and snakes,” Ogut said.

The dam will be constructed on four acres of public land, only three families will be affected, she said. Residents will get jobs.

The board has been urged to build a school, hospital and roads, she said.

“Our interest is not to displace people. We want to provide continuous water,” she said.

The CEO said the project will generate 1.2MW of electricity, store water and sustain supply.

Environmental impact and feasibility studies will be undertaken before the project begins.

Former Kitutu Masaba MP Timothy Bosire wants the project halted until all studies are done. He also wants clarification on compensation.

Completed reports will be made public, Ogut said.

The dam is a Vision 2030 project funded by the government and the Netherlands.

Other projects include rehabilitation and expansion of Kisii Water Supply Works and development of a mini hydro plant at Nyakwana Falls.

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