Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria has started the takeover of water companies after the board of directors of Murang’a South Water and Sanitation Company (Muswasco) resolved to transfer shares to the county government in order to give it the ownership of the water firm.
The process which took place on Tuesday at Muswasco offices was witnessed by the governor, the board of directors of the water firm and its employees, with the company saying that they resolved to change the company’s ownership in order to conform to the law.
According to the Muswasco Chairman Julius Manyeki, their decision was informed by the Council of Governors’ meeting with Cabinet secretaries for Water and Devolution respectively.
Speaking after handing over the resolutions to the county government, Mr Manyeki said they had earlier been misguided by “some forces” not to hand over the company but upon learning the truth, they called for a special board meeting and passed the resolutions.
"We want to give the county government full ownership of the water company but we regret having been misguided. We seek for partnership with the county government in provision of water services to Murang’a people," he said.
He announced that the company will be going to court to terminate a case in which, together with four others, it had challenged the governor's intentions to take over the management of the water companies.
Mr Manyeki urged the other companies to follow suit and change their articles and memorandums of association to give the county full ownership of water firms to enable it provide water to the residents.
On his part, Governor Wa Iria hailed the company's move, saying lawyers for the county government and those representing the water firm will move to the Registrar of Companies to amend their articles of association.
While assuring the company employees that their jobs are secure, the county chief said his administration will partner with the firm in providing water to the locals.
"I want to assure employees that no [one] will be fired but we will work together to ensure that water is connected to all," he said.
DIGITAL WATER METERS
Mr Wa Iria said his administration has announced a tender that will see all the water meters replaced with digital ones with consumers paying their services by the use of tokens.
He said Muswasco will conduct the pilot programme for the digital meters, adding that the takeovers will continue next week.
"All the four companies have no issues apart from Muwasco. But anyone resisting change will go home and they must come down from the ivory towers because it doesn't matter who they are in the society; the Constitution explains who owns the water firms," he said.
He directed water companies to install free public water points in markets, shopping centres and hospitals to ensure every resident has access to safe, clean drinking water.
The move by Muswasco comes amid the push and pull between the embattled chairman of Murang’a Water and Services Company Peter Munga who has gone to court to challenge his replacement with Prof Joseph Kimura.
The tycoon has moved to the Court of Appeal after the labour court struck out his petition saying it has no jurisdiction to preside over the matter.