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November 21, 2018

Water row deepens as wa Iria registers those not connected

Murang'a governor Mwangi wa Iria addressing community health workers at Kenol on Tuesday.
Murang'a governor Mwangi wa Iria addressing community health workers at Kenol on Tuesday.

The water row in Murang’a county continues to deepen after Governor Mwangi wa Iria announced he will use community health workers to register all residents who do not have access to clean water.

Wa Iria said the registration will start today, and will help his government get the accurate figures on water provision. The governor said the health workers will also register those whose supply has been disconnected by water companies.

He said the survey will help the county government to evaluate the number of people with clean water supply against the funds allocated to the companies through loans and grants.

Wa Iria was addressing the health workers at Kenol town on Tuesday. He said some companies have misappropriated billions of shillings, leaving a large portion of the population without access to water.

“It is shocking that companies use hundreds of millions to just build a water intake [line]. They keep receiving funds, yet the majority of the people still don’t have water,” the governor said.

Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company, Wa Iria said, openly stated it cannot consult the county government, and that it is a private company.

He said according to the Constitution water provision is a devolved function. “[Peter] Munga wants to forcibly control water and it is not going to happen anymore,” wa Iria added.

He asked water consumers in Murang’a town and its environs to stop paying bills to the company until the county sets up another account to handle payments.

“They clearly said the company is a private company. So, why do they want to collect revenue on behalf of the county government?” wa Iria said.

under national govt

He said the management of the company does not want to be questioned on its usage of funds and its operations.

The governor said he will not allow the construction of a Sh300 million water institute being spearheaded by Muwasco.

Wa Iria said the national government has invested a lot of money in the establishment of technical institutes in every constituency, which can be used to train water workers.

“We even have Murang’a University of Technology that is offering courses on water engineering,” he said.

Last Friday, chairpersons of four water companies passed resolutions saying they were still operating under the Water Services Board, under the national government.

They agreed to support the construction of the college, with Munga saying they will meet Water PS Joseph Wairagu to receive a cheque for the project.

Munga told a stakeholders’ meeting at Kiawambeu plant that the college will boost the economy and increase returns for local farmers, who will get an opportunity to sell their produce.

The battle over the control of the water sector has led to confusion among residents, who do not know whether to ignore or pay their August bills.

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