NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 10 – Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary nominee Eugene Wamalwa says he will draw lessons from Narc-Kenya leader Martha Karua who instigated lasting reforms in the water sector when she was at the helm of the ministry.
The former Saboti MP like Karua, hopes to use his legal background to resolve the conflict between County Governments and water service bodies which has hampered provision of clean water to Kenyans.
He told the National Assembly Committee on Appointments led by Speaker Justin Muturi that just like the ‘iron lady of Kenya politics’, he is also committed to initiate a policy, legal, institutional and regulatory framework required to transform the water sector and ensure the commodity is accessible and affordable.
Wamalwa told the House mentioned the operationalisation of the Galana Irrigation project and the implementation of the Water Bill as among his quick-gains before the next polls.
Nominated MP Amina Abdalla and South Mugirango MP Manson Nyamweya expressed concern that leaders from the North Rift were behind the slow implementation of the plan to put some one million acres under irrigation at the Galana-Kulalu scheme in Tana River County.
“The project is stalling because the North Rift and Trans Nzoia, where you come from, are said to be sabotaging it. They are not pleased with irrigated maize replacing their maize,” Abdalla observed.
Nyamweya on his part questioned viability of the project while the government had dragged its feet in dealing with the twin issues of poor pricing when buying produce from farmers and providing farm input.
He said these two issues had made maize and rice farming unattractive in the breadbasket region which was now embracing new crops like sugarcane.
Wamalwa, who had confessed to the MPs that he was among large-scale farmers in Kitale area of Trans-Nzoia County stressed that there is an urgent need for the project which has been occasioned by the shrinking acreage of the traditional Trans-Nzoia and North Rift breadbasket.
The former Saboti MP said if appointed, he would constitute a task force to unlock the bottlenecks at the Galana-Kulalu.
“Galana is one of the green revolution projects that the government promised Kenyans. There is serious concern about the slow pace of implementation,” he said.
The project is one of the Jubilee Coalition flagship initiatives aimed at increasing food production and addressing perennial food shortages in the arid and semi-arid regions.
He also said will join forces with other Great Lakes region nations along the River Nile to review the unfair Nile Treaty which has hampers use of the waters by the states.