Wa Iria, Water CS trade blame as Sh130m funding withheld

Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui
Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui. [File, Standard]
The World Bank has withheld a Sh130 million loan to Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco) following unending disputes with the county government.

Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui said the bank’s support to Muwasco was to facilitate expansion of infrastructure to serve lower parts of Murang’a, which is in dire need of water.

The loan was withdrawn after Muwasco was ordered out of Maragua Sub-county gazetted by the Water Services Regulatory Board to be served by Murang’a South Water and Sanitation Company (Muswaco).

The order by the regulator followed recommendations by Murang’a County Water Executive Paul Macharia that Muswaco had encroached Muwasco’s area of operation.

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Chelugui, in a press statement said misunderstanding between the county government and Muwasco has caused insecurity to employees and hurt revenue collection.

“The regulator has issued advisories to Murang’a County government, which have not been respected or acted on,” said Chelugui.

He criticised Governor Mwangi wa Iria for failing to attend consultative forums convened to address water problems.

He accused Iria of consistently misinforming the public on the northern water collector tunnel project by alleging that it is meant to benefit Nairobi and Kiambu to the detriment of Murang’a County.

“The governor has also misled the public that water can be provided for free,” said the CS.

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But Iria accused Chelugui of playing politics to protect interests of a water company.

“I have been receiving letters from the Ministry of Water and other agencies all skewed towards protecting interests of a few people,” he said.

Addressing the press in his office, the governor said Murang’a residents will hold a water stakeholders’ conference to deliberate on how they will safeguard their natural resources.

“It is pathetic that Chelugui has given illegal orders to have those engaged by the county government to re-connect water arrested,” he said.

The CS warned that anybody found tampering with water infrastructure on orders of Iria will be arrested and charged in court.

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In the past two days, 150 plumbers engaged by Iria re-connected water supply to homes and premises that Muwasco had disconnected.

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World BankWater ProjectSimon Chelugui