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Lamu residents hold demos over prolonged water shortage

Thursday March 05 2020
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Residents of Mokowe town in Lamu County demonstrate on March 5, 2020 over prolonged shortage of water. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By KALUME KAZUNGU

Hundreds of residents of Lamu’s Mokowe town and its environs have demonstrated over prolonged shortage of water.

The residents Thursday said they have not had water for the past five months.

The angry protesters stormed the Mokowe water office and demanded the resignation of the company’s officials since they have totally failed to provide the crucial commodity to the locals.

SALINE WATER

Residents have been forced to use saline water from boreholes and wells with others trekking long distances in search of it.

Accompanied by activists from various civil society organisations including the Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) and Haki Africa, the demonstrators also walked to Governor Fahim Twaha's offices in Mokowe.

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Mr Abubakar Ahmed, a resident, questioned why the county government of Lamu has been silent over the matter, leaving the poor mwananchi suffering.

"Why are we suffering and we have a county government in place? Since November last year to date we have been experiencing shortages of water. The taps are always dry and no one is telling us anything. We need answers," said Mr Ahmed.

RESIGN

Lamu branch Muhuri Field Assistant Officer Ali Habib asked the Lamu Water and Sewerage Company (Lawasco) Managing Director Paul Wainaina to resign for failing the Mokowe and Lamu residents.

"People have always been complaining about water shortages yet we have Lawasco in place. Let it be disbanded if it can't solve the water problem in Lamu so that an efficient body is put in place. I strongly ask the Lawasco MD, Paul Wainaina, to resign with immediate effect. He has no relevance if Lamu is ever complaining about the water problem," said Mr Habib.

Ms Batuli Haji, a resident of Mokowe, said they are forced to buy a 20-litre jerrican of water for about Sh50 from as far as Matondoni Island.

"There is no water in Mokowe. We're forced to ferry water on boats from as far as Matondoni village. We buy a jerrican at Sh50. We're then forced to incur huge transport costs to ferry the same water to Mokowe. We need serious interventions to end this shortage. We're suffering," said Ms Haji.

TAPS ALWAYS DRY

Mr Mahmoud Salim, a red resident at Mokowe said the water taps are always dry and when water is running, it is always dirty.

"The water taps are always dry here. The moment water runs, it's always dirty and risks our health. We're tired and we need answers on this," said Mr Salim.

Contacted, the Lawasco MD acknowledged the persistent water shortage in Mokowe town and its environs.

He attributed the shortage to the fact that wells and boreholes in Mokowe were dug a long time ago and that most of the water has been used in the construction of berths at the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor project.

Mr Wainaina said the county government of Lamu is already in the process of digging six boreholes in Belebele after which pipes will be connected to Mokowe.

He said plans are also underway to establish water desalination plants in the area to help solve the current crisis.

"I can confidently say that Mokowe has a serious water problem. Most of the wells and boreholes in the area were dug in the 1990s but because of the ongoing construction at the Lamu Port, the wells and boreholes have been overstretched to the extent that they're now producing saline water. Processes are already underway to connect water from Belebele to Mokowe so that residents can enjoy fresh water," said Mr Wainaina.

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