NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 11 – Muranga Governor Mwangi Wa Iria has defended the government on the 4th Nairobi Water Supply Project.
Wa Iria indicated that CORD leader Raila Odinga misled the public that the project will have devastating effects on the environment.
He admitted that the people of Murang’a raised questions on the project, but said they only wanted to know if they would get a share of the water.
“They said that as we supply water to Nairobi, we also need to be convinced that even the people of Murang’a will also benefit in terms of supply of water from the project because as the water goes to Nairobi, we also want an assurance that because Murang’a is also water deficit, we are also going to benefit,” he stated.”
The Governor was speaking a day after the Opposition leader claimed that the project is a white elephant only meant to siphon public funds, drawing sharp reactions from Jubilee leaders including Majority Leader Aden Duale.
“What Raila is trying to do is trying to stir the waters in Murang’a. He wants to use this as his entry in Central Kenya. And we want to assure him that he should forget about that. He wants to portray himself as the saviour of Murang’a people as far as water is concerned,” Wa Iria stated.
“We know that CORD is planning to hold a rally in Murang’a and they said this when they were in Nairobi. What he is trying to do is trying to prepare his crowd in Murang’a.”
On Monday, the CORD leader called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to halt the construction of the 4th Nairobi Water Supply Project saying it will cause desertification, once it is fully implemented.
Odinga said that the construction of the project at the Aberdare Hill region is being undertaken without proper public participation.
He noted that former Environment and Natural Resources Minister, the late John Michuki had raised objection to the project just before he died.
The Opposition leader said he had taken up the issue after a section of Murang’a County residents petitioned him.
The Murang’a County Assembly also previously raised serious concerns about this project. The Assembly mandated its Water, Energy, Forestry, Environment Natural Resource and Cooperate Management Committee to investigate the project.
The Assembly adopted the Report of the Committee which resolved that the implementation of the whole project should be suspended until all matters of concern are fully addressed.
This conclusion was reached after considering only the effects of the project on Murang’a County. If one considers the project effects on the rest of the Tana River basin, then it is clear that this project is totally outrageous,” he stated.
The former PM further pointed out that the World Bank has classified it as Category A project; which means it is identified as one with potential for large-scale conversion or degradation of natural habitats and significant resettlement or other major social impacts, among others.
But in a rebuttal, the government dismissed the claims with National Assembly Majority Leader Duale, Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa and the Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe rallying to the government’s defence, in turn accusing Odinga of malice and engaging in what they termed as incitement.
Wamalwa said “the former PM might be suffering from selective amnesia” as he produced documents and newspaper cuttings as proof that Odinga launched the Sh6.8 billion project in September 2012.
He also termed allegations by Odinga claiming that the First Family has commercial interests in the project which is also known as Northern Collector Tunnel as “a big lie.”