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Stop water wars in counties and provide genuine leadership

By The Standard | Published Sat, October 6th 2018 at 00:00, Updated October 5th 2018 at 21:00 GMT +3

Water is a basic human right protected by the Constitution. And because it sustains life, nobody can rightfully deny another person access to the commodity. It is therefore unfortunate that in this day and age, Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria and his Nairobi counterpart Mike Sonko are engaged in an altercation over water. While Murang’a County Government insists on getting 25 per cent of the water collected at the famous Ndakaini Dam, Sonko’s administration won’t hear of it.

Indeed, the city governor made remarks to the effect that if Wa Iria continues threatening supply of water to the city he risks having his building on a riparian land being demolished. While this will sear at the heart of Kenyans, seeing the warped way of thinking in key leadership ranks, the collective leadership of the country must not escape blame. Natural resources like water must be shared equitably and policies and regulations on the same clearly spelt out. It should not be for the individual counties or administrative units to decide who to share with and who to deny. That is why we have a national government guided by the supreme law of the land. 

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The national government, the Ministry of Water, county governments and the local water authorities must iron out issues of resource sharing. Simmering differences over water sharing among counties should not be allowed to heighten tension among leaders and the citizens themselves.

On the same note, the government must complete the dozens of dams being sunk across the country to ensure adequate supply of water. Billions of shillings have been set aside for this exercise since former President Kibaki’s administration. Thiba Dam in Kirinyaga County will have cost Sh20 billion if completed.

Others include Naromoru and Karemenu in Nyeri County, which will cost Sh13 billion, Badassa Dam (Sh2 billion), Kahurura and Wiyumiririe dams in Laikipia County (Sh9 billion) and Bute Dam in Wajir County (Sh9 billion). In Western Kenya, dams worth approximately Sh140 billion are in various stages of either conceptualisation or implementation.

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