NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has told Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria to stop politicising water provision.
Appearing before the Senate Lands Committee, Chelugui said the wrangles rocking the water sector in the county is occasioned by Governor Wa Iria and his administration.
“Murang’a County Government has interfered with water services to the residents of Murang’a through various actions. This is due to the misunderstanding over the control and management of water services provision and water utility assets between the County Government and the water companies in the county,” Chelugui said.
He further told the Senator Paul Githiomi (Nyandarua)-led committee that the County Government of Murang’a tried to convert management of water and sanitation services into one of its departments and wrote letters to senior management staff of the water companies transferring them to the county offices against the Water Act 2016 on the autonomy of water and sanitation service provision.
The CS revealed that the County Executive has been pursuing illegal actions against the Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (MUWASCO).
“The county government has been trying to fire company directors and staff without following due process as provided for by the law; disruption of the company’s activities, including tampering with pipelines and other water infrastructure, confiscation of office equipment and rendering inaccessible the company offices by blocking the entrance with rocks, boulders and metal bars,” Chelugui revealed.
He explained that the wrangles have seen World Bank withdraw funding of Sh130 million for a water project earmarked to serve the people of Murang’a South.
He stated that the money was meant to support Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (MUWASCO) to expand water infrastructure to the lower parts of Murang’a.
He called on Senators to intervene saying that the row in Murang’a between County Government and MUWASCO had caused insecurity to employees and adversely affected collection of revenue and accused Wa Iria of misleading the public on management of water service provision, saying the function could only be delivered through agents.
The committee said that it will invite Wa Iria to shed light on the water issues in his county and give the way forward.
On September 19, Wa Iria dispatched over 150 plumbers to reconnect supply which had been disconnected by the water firms after consumers failed to pay their bills before the deadline.
About 200 residents had reported to the County Government after their water was disconnected.