Kenya: Nyeri County Delays Taking Up Kibaki Land

5 December 2019

The Nyeri County Government's delay in acquiring a one-acre land parcel donated by retired President Mwai Kibaki to a water project in Kieni has led to inadequate supply of the precious commodity in the area.

According to a letter seen by Nation dated October 15, 2004 from State House, Mr Kibaki donated the land identified as Rware farm for establishment of Narumoru Water and Sanitation Company (Narowasco) to the defunct county council of Nyeri.

It was expected to lay water pipes and construct a water treatment plant.

"This is to inform that His excellency the president has granted a wayleave consent to the county council of Nyeri to lay water pipes and construction of a water treatment plant at his Rware farm in Narumoru for water supply to Narumoru township," the letter read.

However, 15 years later the water company continues to rent space at Sh55,000 per month.

The move has prompted the county assembly issue a 90-day ultimatum to the administration to finalise the land acquisition process saying it was long overdue.

In a report by the committee on water and sanitation services adopted by the county assembly, ward representatives tasked the executive member in charge of Water Fredric Kinyua with ensuring that the plot of land was surveyed and a title deed issued to the company within three months.

"The CEC to ensure that the company's one-acre plot donated to the company by the former president Hon. Mwai Kibaki is surveyed and the title of the land issued to NAROWASCO within 90 days," committee chair Joseph Njiiri of Kabaru ward said.

"The company pays a rental fee of Sh55,000 every month which translates to Sh660,000 every year. If the company would put up its own premises in the land, we would be saving more than Sh600,000 annually," Erastus Karanja of Ruguru ward said.

Narowasco supplies water to at least 1,923 registered connections with 1,711 being active and billed connections.

It operates in two water schemes including Narumoru Township and Kandara Ngutik water supply schemes supplying water to a 13,000 people target population in the area.

The committee further noted the company was facing immense challenges including lack of liquid waste water disposal due to lack of a sewerage system and conventional water treatment works leading to poor quality of the commodity.

The company did not have adequate storage facilities or transmission lines between tanks. It could also not expand to underserved and unserved areas due to lack of funds which the MCAs noted were being drained by rent.

"Now that the company is spending too much money on rent, how can they expand and serve those without water? This land issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible," Mr Njiiri added.

They observed that the water company also supplied water to parts of Laikipia Town which border Narumoru.

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