Elgeyo-Marakwet leaders have faulted President Uhuru Kenyatta for cancelling the building of the Sh22.2 billion Kimwarer dam, saying it is wrong to punish residents for mistakes committed by other people.
County Senator Kipchumba Murkomen accused the technical committee that recommended its cancellation of bias and of misleading the President.
“As I have always said, the plan all along was to kill the projects. The composition of the technical committee does not reflect ethnic and regional balance…the people of Elgeyo Marakwet have been denied their rightful share of the national projects in a deliberate act of discrimination,” said Mr Murkomen, who is also the Senate majority leader.
NO PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
He said the committee did not conduct any public participation before making the decision.
Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, in whose constituency the Kimwarer dam was to be constructed, Wednesday maintained that they will continue to push for the building of the multi-purpose dam.
“We want to commend the President for allowing the commencement of the Arror dam multi-purpose project but we will continue to push [him] to allow the Kimwarer dam to proceed. We know there have been hiccups but we will be appealing him to allow the project to continue,” said the first-time Jubilee lawmaker.
He went on, “The project was to serve the Tugen and Keiyo communities. We feel wronged and believe the president was not well informed. I will lead a delegation to appeal to him to reconsider that decision,” said the MP, adding that the project has been in the offing from 1980.
Mr Rono added that two projects will not only benefit the county but the entire country through power generation.
“Our county enjoys one of the best topographies suitable for geothermal power generation that will benefit the country,” he said.
The technical committee, in a report present to President Kenyatta, noted that Kimwarer dam was found to have been overpriced and that the project is neither technically nor financially viable.
NO FEASIBILITY STUDY
The committee established that no current reliable feasibility study had been conducted on the dam project.
The only feasibility study carried out on a similar project 28 years ago had revealed a geological fault across the 800-acre project area, which would have negative structural effects on the proposed dam.
The technical committee also established that the project area is settled and would require compensation of displaced residents.
According to the technical design of the Kimwarer dam, the water supply mechanism would involve pumping, an aspect the technical committee found to be unsustainable in terms of operations and maintenance costs.
Further, the committee established that the pumping would make the project financially unsustainable in the long run.
Elgeyo-Marakwet County ODM leader Micah Kigen termed the report as biased, noting that feasibility studies done by the Isreali government in 1979 had established that the project was viable and could transform the social-economic livelihoods of the vast Kerio Valley region.
“We are going to appeal this decision since it is totally biased and meant to punish the Keiyo community. The project was meant to assist more than 30,000 people to invest in agriculture,” said Mr Kigen.
The President okayed the other controversial Arror dam project in Marakwet East although he said it had been overpriced.
Reporting by Barnabas Bii, Stanley Kimuge and Evans Kipkura