Bomet residents stage protest over stalled work at dam

Wednesday March 18 2020

Chebunyo residents stage a protest against the county government for abandoning desilting of Chemisimgut Dam. PHOTO | VITALIS KIMUTAI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Chebunyo residents staged a protest on Thursday against a move by the Bomet county government to abandon desilting of a major dam in the area.

They said the dam is a major source of water for residents in the county and the stalled work has led to water shortages.

The residents urged the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), Directorate of Criminal Investigations and other relevant government departments to urgently investigate the matter.

The demonstrators walked for three kilometres to Chebunyo county ward offices to present their petition over Chemisimgut Dam in Chepalungu constituency.

"We have repeatedly raised the matter with the county government and the area MCA Joseph Chepkwony but our appeals went unheeded. 

“It is painful that water was drained from the dam and the project abandoned for eight months now," said Mrs Lydia Chumo, a resident.

She said women and children have suffered as a result of abandoned work at the dam, which supplies water to residents of Bomet and Narok counties.

The demonstrators said a public participation meeting was not undertaken as required by the law before the desilting work began. They claimed county officers declined to state the cost of the project.

"If they knew they would not complete the project when they started it, they should have left it altogether or drained the water to a smaller temporary dam for our use," said Mrs Nancy Randich, a protester.

The colonial government constructed the dam in the 1950s and it was last desilted in 1984.

Last August, the county dispatched a contractor to the site to undertake similar works.

"The contractor drained water for five days, abandoned machinery for 29 days at the site, before taking equipment away and has not been back to date," said Mr Paul Chepkulul.

The county government, through the Director of Communications Ezra Kirui, said the contractor had not been paid for the work done and was expected to resume work in the next one week.

"J and Soy Holdings Ltd was awarded the tender for the project last year and was expected to deliver the work in six months but, due to heavy rains, it was not possible to desilt the dam," Mr Kirui said.

He said the contractor would be back on site by next week.