Residents of water-scarce Kitui South have petitioned Kitui County Government to fast track completion of the stalled Sh.800 million Kangu-Kangu water project to ease the area’s perennial water shortage.
Speaking at Kamutei market on Friday, the aggrieved residents accused Governor Charity Ngilu’s administration of neglecting the water project which was reportedly at 80 percent completion by 2017.
Shadrack Nzioka, a resident of Kamutei, said that stalling of the project snuffed out their hopes of finding a lasting solution to age-old water problems in the remote part of Kitui County,
“The project was the sole hope for Athi, Kanyangi, Mutomo, Kanziku, Mutha and Ikutha wards but was abandoned after former Governor Julius Malombe’s exit,” he regretted.
He lamented that aspiring politicians have been using the areas water scarcity menace as a campaign tool but none had honoured their promise to rescue the situation.
“As Kenyans from other parts of the country celebrate the fruits of independence, we the people of Kitui South are languishing in poverty and lack of access to clean and safe water for domestic use,” said Nzioka.
“We want the county government to swiftly complete this project so as to put an end to our suffering,” he said.
A local woman, Dorcas Manziu, lamented that women and children were the hardest hit by the acute water shortage.
“It is unbecoming for women and girls to survive for a week without taking regular baths. Our hygiene has deteriorated over the years due to lack of water. Available water goes for Sh30 per 20-litre jerrican,” she moaned.
Ms. Manziu argued that some men had fled their homes due to unhygienic conditions of their spouses, adding that women bore the greatest brunt when there was insufficient water for their households.
“We walk for kilometres and spend long hours in search of the scarce commodity and even spend the night queuing for water. It’s that bad,” she lamented.
The water project was jointly initiated and funded on a fifty-fifty basis by World Vision and the County Government of Kitui in 2015 but collapsed two years later leaving residents despondent.
While commissioning a 500, 000-liter storage cum distribution tank at Mutomo hill in 2015, Dr. Malombe said the project would supply water to over 100, 000 households and 5, 000 livestock in the drought prone region upon completion.
Efforts to reach the County Executive for Water for comment were futile as he was out of office and reportedly held in official meetings.
By Yobesh Onwong’a