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Government finally hands over water project

The government has officially handed over the Mukengesya Irrigation water project to the community after ordering the contractor to redo it.

The Sh70 million dam was handed over to Mukengesya residents on Tuesday by the national government through the office of the County Commissioner.

Tomatoes in one of the greenhouses.

While officiating the function at Mukengesya sub location, Komarock location, Machakos County Commissioner Esther Maina said the government was keen on ensuring all development projects that had initially stalled in the area are completed and handed over to the public.

She commended the National Irrigation Board through the Ministry of Irrigation for expediting the construction work at the 150,000 cubic meter water reservoir and urged residents to utilise the water for their own good.

Machakos County Commissioner Esther Maina addressing residents
of Mukengesya area ,Komarock location on December 10 during the handover of the Sh72 million irrigation project to the public.

“We are here today to hand over this project to the community and the Machakos County government for use in changing the lives of the people of this area. The project is now far much better than when we visited this place and ordered the contractor to repeat the work. We now hope the county government will take up the project and carry out any other improvements needed to help cater for both man and livestock of this area,” she said.

The administrator told local administrators to ensure the security and the safety of the dam, the green houses and those visiting the site is guaranteed at all times.

She also called upon the county government to help improve the road network in the area in order to ease the movement of both people and produce from the two greenhouses from the site to the market.

Patrick Njiiru, an engineer from the National Irrigation Board (NIB) lauded the project saying it had been done as per the agreed specifications.

On his part NIB County Irrigation  officer Mr Willy Katembo said the initial project had planted tomatoes and onions and had already been handed over to the Jirani Wema Women group.

He said the initial plan was to plough back the proceeds from the produce into the undertaking to ensure the sustainability of the project.

“We have already handed this project to the Jirani Wema Self help group who we believe will utilise it for the good of the community .We also want the county government to come on board and get  involved in making this project a success  even for posterity,” he said.

The greenhouses at the Mukengesya Irrigation project which are currently under tomatoes and onions .The undertaking is currently under the Jirani Wema Self Help group.

Raphael Mwendo, who is Tuthuli B village elder thanked the government for the project and promised to rally the area residents in taking advantage by exploiting the resource.

He nevertheless called for the county government to help improve the road in the area saying this would boost transport and open the area for development.

Early this month the Machakos County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) called for the Ethics and Anticorruption Commission to investigate contractors and project supervisors behind shoddy works at several multi-million dams under the National Irrigation Board.

“It is official. We have written to the EACC Nairobi and given a copy to their Machakos branch inviting their officials to come and investigate why the projects were poorly done” said Mrs. Maina who doubles as chair to the committee.

Among the projects to be investigated is the Kwa Munyenze dam in Mwala Sub-County worthy Sh14.6 million, Mbuuni small dam in Kathiani (Sh13.8M), Kwa Katiwa small dam (Sh13.6M), Kwa Chief in Mavoko (Sh14.4M) and Kwa Mwangi, Kangonde in Masinga (Sh14.4M).

According to reports presented by task forces formed by the committee to evaluate the works on the ground all the dams were found to be poorly constructed with no value for the amounts allocated.

They were also said to have not benefitted the community since they were not holding substantial water as walls to most of them had collapsed.

Local communities around the dams complained that they were not involved in their planning or construction while some demanded to be compensated for pieces of the land on which they are built.

Unibee Construction Company which was contracted by NIB to construct the Mukengesya dam at a cost of Sh70 million was ordered by the CDICC to redo the works.

This was after the committee visited the site and found that the workmanship was poor and the dam posed a danger to both animals and humans.

It also established that the local community had rejected the project since they were never involved in its planning or construction.

The committee had also severally tried to summon the project engineers and the contractors to come and shed light on the circumstances in vain.

The dam was finally given a clean bill of health by the CDICC after the contractor addressed the issues that had been raised.

By Samuel Maina and Patrick Kioko

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