Tigania residents raise concerns over lack of water, delayed land compensation


When Nairiri borehole in Kianjai ward was commissioned in 2019. [File, Standard]

Residents of Tigania East in Meru County have raised concerns over delay in compensation for land they gave to the county.

The residents said they had relinquished the land to the devolved unit for the construction of Thangatha dam in 2018.

The project was to be undertaken by Tana Water Works Development Agency to provide water for thousands of people around Kiguchwa, Michii Mikuru and surrounding areas.

But destruction of parts of the dam infrastructure has prevented residents from accessing water from the facility.

Geoffrey Muthogi, said residents are yet to get details on when the government intends to repair the dam and compensate them for land they surrendered to give way for the project.

"We were told to prepare the title deeds in readiness for compensation, however no communication has been given to us on when we can expect payment,"Muthogi said.

He said his family stopped their farming to accommodate the dam, yet they have no water for domestic use or compensation for their land.

Like other families around the dam, his family grew arrow roots, cassava, tea, miraa and other crops.

Other locals join him in asserting their travails, including delayed completion and compensation. 

"I inherited the land from my father, Stanley Mburung'a," Muthogi said, adding the government owes him Sh1 million which had not been paid.

He said the family used to earn from miraa and other crops but had now been thrown into poverty. 

"We are asking the government to pay up I had tea, miraa and arrow roots. I used to earn good money but that is no more after we surrendered the land,"he said.

George Kobia said before the dam project came the land used to sustain families, but then the government asked them to give up their land.
Kobia claimed he was assured a payment of Sh1.4million.

"I only received Sh345, 000 which I used it to build a new place and move my belongings, including livestock. The second phase of payment has not been forthcoming and it has been a painful wait," he said. 

"We want to be paid our money so that we can buy land elsewhere," he added.

Tana Water Works Development Agency CEO Philip Gichuki in response assured the residents that efforts are being made to repair the infrastructure that was destroyed by heavy rains.

"The Dam works are complete only the spillway was damaged by rains but emergency works are ongoing," said engineer Gichuki.

He said repairs should be completed in a month's time to allow the population of 78,346 people within the area benefit from the reslource. 

Gichuki said 40 percent compensation was done for acquisition of the affected private lands as is procedure. 

"The rest is being done in consultation with the chiefs after key ownership documents are availed and processed," he stated.