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February 20, 2019

MCAs to draft law to end water wrangles

Water and Environment committee chairperson Jane Wanjiru during a press briefing, flanked by her colleagues.
Water and Environment committee chairperson Jane Wanjiru during a press briefing, flanked by her colleagues.

A section of Murang’a MCAs want to draft a policy to control the water sector and end wrangles between water firms and the county government.

Leader of majority Eric Kamande said residents will give their views on the policy through public forums. The law, he said, will control the implementation of water projects and ensure equitable distribution of funds.

“This law will ensure the remaining part of the population that is yet to have domestic water is covered,” Kamande said.

Water and Environment committee chairperson Jane Wanjiru on Friday said the executive in charge of water has been advised to form an ad hoc team to probe the disputes. She said once it is in place, the team will look into problems facing water firms and the root causes of the conflict between them and the county government.

“It is the role of the county assembly to intervene when such issues arise and arbitrate between the parties,” Wanjiru said.

Nominated MCA Lilian Kabaya said the house will summon water companies’ managers to explain how they run the firms and use their funds. She said MCAs will recommend deregistration of water companies violating the law.

Her counterpart Stephen Mwangi urged Murang’a town residents not to pay water bills until the disputes are solved.

There has been a tug-of-war between the county and the Murang’a Water and Sewerage Company since July last year when Governor Mwangi wa Iria instructed the firm to reduce tariffs.

Muwasco went to court to stop the governor from holding a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss water charges but lost.

Wa Iria then appointed a 13-member caretaker team, suspending boards of the five water firms, a move that the five water companies went to court to block.

The wrangles cropped up again last month when Wa Iria removed former Equity Bank chairman Peter Munga as head of the firm and replaced him with Joseph Kimura.

Water wars ensued. Muwascao obtained court orders preventing Wa Iria from interfering.

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