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State to fast-track the remaining phases of multi purpose Thwake dam

The national government will fast-track the remaining critical downstream phases of Thwake Multi-Purpose dam whose first phase is under construction to ensure food security for the lower Eastern region.

Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome has disclosed that the ministry has put in place an implementation team to monitor and fast-track the progress of the dam in order to ensure the construction is completed under phase I by June, 2024.

“We have an implementation team at the Ministry headquarters and they will be reporting to me and the PS Dr. Paul Ronoh every three months on the progress of the dam, she said.

“We are working with the deadlines that has been set and we will not accept any laziness or delays,” added Wahome during an inspection tour of the dam Tuesday.

“I hope the contractor will keep the pace and work round the clock in meeting the deadline. We must safeguard billions of tax payer’s money that has been pumped into this project, we will not accept any excuses,” warned the CS.

On food security, Wahome said the three Ukambani counties namely Kitui, Machakos and Makueni are endowed with fertile soils saying the government is keen in providing adequate water for irrigation to boost food production in the region.

She revealed that President William Ruto is keenly looking forward to commission the dam that is expected to benefit over 1.2 million residents in the Eastern Region.

On pollution, Wahome said the newly formed Nairobi Rivers Commission will work with all the relevant multi-agency teams and ministries on clean-up of Athi River by cracking the whip against the pollutants.

“One of mandates of my ministry is to ensure Kenyans access clean and safe water. Industries emitting chemicals and farming practices along the river banks must stop forthwith,” she said, while urging the media to lead in the advocacy campaigns by naming and shaming those found culpable.

Wahome encouraged the contractor to work within human rights parameters when blasting and ensure communities benefit from the available opportunities of both skilled and unskilled labour.

The CS also revealed that treatment works will be done concurrently with dam filling, adding that the project would have moved faster, but the process of mobilizing Sh37 Billion for construction works, settling the Project Affected Persons (PAPs), legal issues and other construction challenges slowed down works.

Speaking during the tour, Makueni Governor Mutula Kilonzo Jnr. urged the ministry to rehabilitate the local access roads.

Others present during the occasion included Water Principal Secretary Dr. Paul Ronoh, County Commissioner Beverly Opwora, Water Secretary Eng. Samwel Alima, the Program Coordinator Eng. David Onyango and a host of local leaders.

By Patrick Nyakundi and Ronald Rono

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