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Nothing going on at Arror and Kimwarer

NAIROBI
By Stephen Rutto | December 31st 2020

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos. [File, Standard]

The national government’s silence on the implementation of the multi-billion shilling dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County is cause for concern.

Arror and Kimwarer multi-purpose dams were to be constructed at an inflated cost of Sh63 billion, with the former costing Sh35 billion and the latter Sh28 billion.

Along the way, it was riddled by controversy that tainted the careers of top government officials, including former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and former Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) Managing Director David Kimosop.

The last time the government spoke about the twin water projects was in September 2019, when President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the immediate commencement of the implementation of the Arror Dam project, but in a scaled down cost and design.

The President set the cost of Arror at Sh15.4 billion and ordered cancellation of Kimwarer Dam as he received a report from a technical committee he had formed to look into irregularities in the dams expected to irrigate at least 15,000ha of arable land.

The technical team was chaired by Principal Secretary for Infrastructure Paul Maringa. Since then the national government has remained tight-lipped, casting doubts on whether construction of the scaled-down Arror Dam will start soon.

Meanwhile, Elgeyo Marakwet leaders have called for revival of the two projects in Marakwet West and Keiyo South Constituencies.

KVDA Chief Executive Officer Sammy Naporos said the authority would embark on implementation of the water project as soon as it is given the go-ahead.

“Communication on the same (revival of Arror Dam) is yet to be directed to us,” he told The Standard.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Alex Tolgos asked the government to revive the dams’ project.

Tolgos said he appealed to the President to reconsider the decision to cancel construction of Kimwarer Dam, saying it would create more than 2,000 job opportunities and turn around Kerio Valley economy. “In the spirit of Handshake, we are hopeful that the two dams will be revived and completed soon – this time under better management,” he said.

Senator Kipchumba Murkomen said the two were part of the Vision 2030 flagship projects and should be implemented.

Mr Murkomen, who at one point faced off with Mr Tolgos over the dams, blamed national politics for the stalling of the projects.

In a strange twist, KVDA acting MD Francis Kipkech was among senior officers arrested in Eldoret after the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji released a list of suspects involved in the dam scam.

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