9 October 2018

Kenya: Nairobians to Pay Murang'a County for Water as Sonko is Outfoxed

The Council of Governors (CoG) and the Ministry of Water and Sanitation have agreed to develop a benefit-sharing mechanism aimed at ensuring that the people of Murang'a profit from water sourced from the county and consumed in Nairobi.

This comes days after Governor Mike Sonko had warned Murang'a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria against pursuing a 25% payment from revenue collected from the sale of water to Nairobi residents.

Sonko asserted that Ndakaini Dam, which supplies 84 percent of the city's water, is owned by the Nairobi County Government.

But in the Tuesday meeting led by the CoG chairperson of the water committee, Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi, and other committee members and attended by Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and his Water counterpart Simon Chelugui, the team agreed that a framework will be developed to ensure counties where dams are located benefit from the resources.

"The Ministry of Water and Sanitation will develop a benefit-sharing mechanism to ensure residents of Murang'a County benefit from water resources in their own backyard. I'm happy that we were able to resolve these outstanding water disputes," Mr Murungi said.

OWE AN APOLOGY

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said the country owes Murang'a County an apology for underestimating its demand for water when residents from other counties enjoyed the same.

"I express my sympathy to Murang'a people and the country owes it an apology. When a man cries for water he should not be mistaken with a mad man and there is no way they [can] be sitting on such a critical asset, Ndakaini Dam, and they are starving for water," he said.

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o called for the scrapping of the water boards across the country saying they are just a duplication of the county governments' water function.

"These creatures called water services boards should be gotten rid of; they do what is expected of county governments and they give counties a headache," Prof Nyong'o said.

MANAGEMENT WRANGLES

The CoG also directed the directors of water companies in Murang'a to change their articles and memorandums of association to give their ownership to the county government in order to resolve the ongoing management wrangles between the companies and Governor Mwangi Wa Iria.

"Murang'a County is the rightful owner of Muwasco (Murang'a Water and Sanitation Company) and four other water utilities in the county hence the transfer of the water utilities from private individuals to the county government should be urgently implemented without further delay," the council said.

The deliberations by the governors' council and the Water ministry may bring to an end the animosity between Murang'a and Nairobi counties as well as the five water companies. The dispute has found its way to the courts.

Embattled Muwasco chairman Peter Munga has gone to court thrice in bid to retain his position at the water firm.

Kenya

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