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Mumoni residents to demonstrate over water shortage, warns MCA Kanandu

Mumoni ward residents in Mwingi North constituency, Kitui County have threatened to demonstrate over water shortage that has hit the area for nearly a year now.

Mumoni MCA Johnson Kanandu  addresses the County Assembly of Kitui on July 14. Photo/COURTESY

Area Member of the County Assembly Johnston Kanandu said the locals have given the Kiambere Mwingi Water and Sanitation Company (KIMWASCO) a week to supply them with water failure to which they will hold a mammoth demo against the agency.

“I want to alert this House that I am this Thursday giving the OCS (Kamuw’ongo) and KIMWASCO a seven-day notice in presence of the media, that we are going to have a peaceful demonstration after its expiry,” he said on the floor of the County Assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

He threatened that in the ultimatum, the locals would barricade supply of water to Mwingi town until their grievances are addressed.  “I want to go on record that we are going to block the water to Kamuw’ongo market. It will not go to Mwingi neither will it be supplied to the Chinese firm,” the MCA told the House presided over by the temporary Speaker Fredrick Nthuri (MCA Tharaka ward).

He said areas most hit are Ithingili and Ndathani among others where households are now struggling to get water which has become a rare commodity even the as the water company continues to give them a wide berth.  

“Kimwasco had promised to sort out the water issue in the area by end of June this year. Today is at the end of August: four months down the line. People have no water, there is the COVID-19 pandemic and yet I want to be told that life is normal,” Kanandu charged.    

Kanandu further vehemently faulted the County Assembly sectorial committee on Water and Agriculture for failing to produce the report on the matter several months after he tabled a statement request on the water supply hitch to his electorates.  “I am very angry today. I am not happy at all… Mr Speaker, Sir, I want to hear your word as you direct the Chairs of the two Committees concerned on when I am going to get the statements. We have only tomorrow. On Thursday allow me to proceed on with the plans that I have been directed to do by my residents”, the vocal Ward Rep said also pointing out that another of his statement request on a shoddily done road project was not responded by the Chair of the Departmental Committee on Lands, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development.

Produce the report

However, the Speaker said he could not direct the MCA on the move to take but would only push the relevant committee to ensure the report is tabled soonest possible. “We sympathize and empathize with the residents of Mumoni because of that situation. But as a House we cannot direct him on what to do. We cannot go that direction,” Nthuri retorted.

Interestingly this is not the first time KIMWASCO is being accused by locals over shortage of water supply not only in the rural areas but also in the densely populated Mwingi town. Over the past few years, the water company owned by Kitui County government has been on the receiving end as residents decried the pain of having dry taps for months – an abnormality that has been recurring every now and then – nearly becoming a new normal in the semi-arid area. The company’s boss Paul Kinuba has been quoted severally blaming the shortage on huge electricity bills.

In the year 2015 there was a much-publicized national government project of carrying out a phase-two of Kiambere-Mwingi water pipeline, a deal that would deal blow to the perennial water thirsty in the area besides distributing water to remote areas of Kyuso, Katse and Tseikuru in the far North. The project that was set to be done by Tana and Athi Rivers Development Authority (TARDA) through the funding of the Italian government never kicked off.        


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