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February 22, 2018

Residents threaten ‘jerrycan protest’ over water shortage

Residents of Migori town yesterday fetch water at a spring that’s drying up /MANUEL ODENY
Residents of Migori town yesterday fetch water at a spring that’s drying up /MANUEL ODENY

Migori town residents and traders yesterday threatened to stage a “jerrycan protest” if water supply is not restored by Friday.

Their taps have been dry for three months after the county failed to pay a Sh4 million power bill. Kenya Power disconnected electricity at the Sh1.2billion water project set up by the African Development Bank and handed over in 2014.

The project has a capacity to produce more than two million litres of clean water daily to serve over 200,000 residents, but it is lying idle as residents use untreated water.

The project draws water from the River Oyani, Uriri constituency, and comes complete with 15 water kiosks to serve residents. The kiosks have been closed.

“On Friday we will not pay any taxes and levies to the county government, we will organise residents and traders to move with empty jerrycans for a peaceful demonstration to the governor’s office,” Kennedy Odongo, chairman of Migori Small Traders’ Association, said.

County funds delayed

He was addressing the press in Migori town accompanied by Tobias Omino, chairman of the Migori Chamber of Commerce. The two said residents buy a 20 litre jerrycan of untreated water for Sh50.

Water chief officer Donald Jaleny on Monday blamed the shortage on the national government’s delay to release county funds.

“As we are speaking, we are waiting for disbursement from the national government. We will end the crisis once and for all by paying the amount due in full,” he told the press at his office. 

Omino said they have instructed traders at the bus park, Migori market and hawkers to chase away revenue collectors. Odongo said, “We are staring at a cholera attack. Our clients, especially in the hotel and food industry, are faced with [a dilemma]. 

“We won’t be giving Migori county millions in taxes weekly as traders [on top of the] billions from the National Treasury, when we are denied water in town,” he said.

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