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Water vendors threaten to take new tariff battle to court

By By Ernest Ndunda | Published Mon, August 6th 2012 at 00:00, Updated August 5th 2012 at 22:31 GMT +3

By Ernest Ndunda

Mombasa County

More than 1,500 water vendors have vowed to take their battle with the Mombasa Water and Sanitation Company to court.

During a press conference, Mombasa County Water Vendors Association officials said they would not be cowed by the company’s claims that they (vendors) were to blame for shortage of the commodity.

“If the company has failed to cope with high demand of the commodity, it should not use water vendors as scape-goat,” said the Chairman of Mombasa Island Water Vendors Association Hassan Hamza.

He said the association would be compelled by circumstances to move to court to ensure their rights were not violated.

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He insisted the water company should accept liability for its employees who were involved in illegal water connections that have denied the company revenue.

Misappropriation of water

The company’s managing director, Moses Kinya had warned water vendors would not be spared as they had engaged in illegal business by colluding with a few members of staff to misappropriate water.

Kinya said the vendors were resisting changes, which he said were good for both water vendors and their consumers.

The MD explained that the company had moved to regulate distribution of water on receiving complaints that vendors were exploiting water consumers.

The vendors on their part said that they were stakeholders and section 107 of water Act 2002 clearly states that stakeholders’ views must be incorporated into the final tariff report regulating board for approval and gazettement.

Views ignored

“Any proposed increase in water tariff must be agreed upon by stakeholders and in this case the company has totality ignored our views,” said Hamza.

Hamza said water vendors have opted to using big water tanks to reserve water for their customers after the company decided to ration the commodity.

“Mombasa Water and Sanitation Company has misinformed policies and they need to amend them to match with the new Constitution which we believe entitles us to clean and safe water,” said Hamza.