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Raila Odinga meets Kipsigis elders over Sh34b dam controversy

By Nikko Tanui | October 18th 2016
CORD leader Raila Odinga. Kipsigis elders held a closed-door meeting with Raila over a controversial Sh34 billion South Rift dam project. (PHOTO: FILE/ STANDARD)

Kipsigis elders held a closed-door meeting with CORD leader Raila Odinga over a controversial Sh34 billion South Rift dam project.

The secret three-hour meeting came a day after Deputy President (DP) William Ruto gave the the Itare water dam project a wide berth during his visit to Kericho on Sunday.

Ruto steered clear of the controversial matter of the dam despite earlier asking area leaders and water engineers drawn from National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation to quell the elders' disquiet over the project.

The DP was at Moi Gardens in Kericho town to raise funds for the construction of South Rift Seventh Day Adventist Church headquarters.

Ecological disaster

The Council of Kipsigis Elders Chairman Isaiah Cheluget said they had been forced to reach out to Raila after the Jubilee administration failed to convince them that the project would not lead to an ecological disaster.

Cheluget, a former powerful Nyanza provincial commissioner during Kanu's regime, led elders on the secret mission to discuss the project that has been plagued by claims that it would be injurious to the environment.

Raila was accompanied by Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.

The former Prime Minister flew in a helicopter to the Exotic Hotel on the outskirts of Kericho town.

The multi-billion-shilling water dam project funded by the Italian government ran into controversy over claims that public participation was not carried out.

The elders have insisted the project will divert water from the Mau Forest complex t and lead to the drying of rivers such as Chemosit, Ndoinet, Sondu, Kipsonoi, Ndoinet among others.

Raila remained tight-lipped on his deliberations with the elders. He instead referred the media to Cheluget for comments on their meeting.

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