The Makueni County Irrigation Officer, Eng. Willy Katembu has attributed delayed commissioning of Kako/Kathozweni Irrigation Project on faulty transformers.
Eng. Katembu explained that they have been waiting for installation of power to two bore holes sunk at a cost of over Sh.60 million to assist 20 farmers each from Kyunyu and Musini respectively to do irrigation.
“We applied for power in 2016 when the project started. The bore holes were sunk in February 2017 and a transformer that was installed at Kyunyu last year has never worked. This has made the farmers who were eager to do irrigation to lose faith in government,” said Eng. Katembu during the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee meeting chaired by the Makueni County Commissioner (CC), Maalim Mohammed in his Wote Boardroom on Monday.
When the committee visited the project site at Kyunyu, it was established that some people went and vandalized a security light that had been fixed at the pump house and agreed unanimously that Kenya Power need to act quickly to install a transformer.
Mohammed observed that faulty transformers were also installed at the Makueni Level 5 hospital and failed to function, hence denying wananchi vital services at the health facility.
While saying frequent black outs are experienced across some parts of the county, the administrator called on the
government to conduct investigations into the transformer saga that he said was “a scandal.”
He disclosed that 13 schools are yet to benefit under the digital learning since they are not connected to the national grid, noting that the pupils cannot use the tablets supplied to their schools by the government.
“Those who deliver faulty transformers must be investigated. A Citi-scan and C-arm delivered to Makueni Level 5 Hospital have never worked due to inadequate power supply. This is a major scandal, how can you spend billions of tax payers money to buy machines that are not working,” lamented Mohammed.
In another development, Mohammed said that the government will not allow white elephant projects and added that all projects initiated by the national government in the county will be completed.
Speaking in the same meeting, a KPLC official, Phelistar Nadimo promised to complete the power line to Musini but was non-committal on when a functioning transformer will be installed at the bore holes.
She told the meeting that a transformer which had been taken to Makueni Level 5 hospital last Wednesday was found to be faulty and was returned to Nairobi the same day.
She further said 82 other transformers have been found faulty across the county which were preventing many residents from being connected to the national grid and denied services.
During the meeting, the members also took issue with the slow pace of Katua-Kee-Nunguni (19.8 Km) road that was launched by the President Uhuru Kenyatta in October 2015.
The road which is funded at over Sh.362 million under road 2000 programme, is supposed to have been completed by October 2017 and since it commenced, the contractor has tarmacked only 4.3 kilometres.
A consultant, Eng. Molla Zewdu told the members that the contractor Coastal Kenya Limited was seeking to review the contract to Sh.500 million, saying he under quoted and has been overwhelmed by the workforce.
Eng. Zewdu said that the road was being constructed with a donor grant from the European Union (69%) and (31%) from the Kenyan government.
“Already the contractor has been paid Sh.162 million and there is no mobilization of equipment on site,” said Eng. Zewdu.
Reacting to the same, Mohammed noted that this cannot be allowed to continue, saying that those involved at Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) should be brought into account.
By Patrick Nyakundi