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Stalled Umaa dam a big setback to water insecure Kitui County

Stalled Umaa dam located along river Nzeu about seven kilometres North-east of Kitui town is a huge setback to the water insecure Kitui county’s populace.

The 28m high dam which stalled in 2011 is estimated to have a capacity of 870, 000 cubic meters of water and inject an additional 2,500 cubic meters per day of water to Kitui town serving about 75, 000 people when completed.

According to a report by the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation, the overall completion of the dam construction works is estimated at 68 percent.

The multi-million shilling project was started in 2010 during retired President Mwai Kibaki’s regime, when the current Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu was the Water minister.

A few months into the construction works, the project stalled, sinking with it Sh575 million taxpayers’ money and dashing hopes of sufficient water supply to Kitui residents.

Governor Ngilu came under fire when it was revealed that the cost of the project had been reviewed upwards from the initial Sh800 million to Sh1.4 billion, allegedly by a cartel out to fleece the government.

However, a probe by a parliamentary committee that investigated the scandal however did not find Ngilu culpable, the collapse of the project left many residents disillusioned.

“We had high hopes for water security. We hope the government will revive the project,” said a resident Ms. Mwende Kisyoki, .

Meanwhile, Kitui senator Enoch Wambua urged President Kenyatta to move with speed and sack all cabinet secretaries in his government who have been named in graft cases.

Speaking yesterday during a tour of Tharaka Ward, which is one of the marginalised areas in the County, Senator Wambua lauded the President for his bold step saying the war against corruption should spare no one.

“It is high time that anyone named in any corruption deal faces the full force of the law, regardless of social stature,” said the former journalist.

The legislator wondered why cabinet secretaries, who have been named in the Dams Scandals where billions of public funds have been reported missing, were still holding their offices under the watch of the President.

Wambua called on the EACC to take keen interest in counties where rampant cases of corruption have been reported.

The senator invited EACC to Kitui to unearth mysteries surrounding construction of Umaa Dam which has stalled for many years.

‘Let the investigators move with speed in a bid to nab anyone who might have been involved in embezzling of the millions of cash which were meant to make Kitui a water sufficient county,’ added Wambua.


By Yobesh Onwong’a


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