Dam project causes rift among residents

Thursday December 21 2017

WATER DAM PROJECT

Mr Isaiah Nakoru in a past interview. As the Nyamira County commissioner, he has told leaders to stop misleading residents about Bonyunyu dam project. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By HENRY NYARORA
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Politicians in Nyamira County have been asked to steer clear of the controversial Bonyunyu dam project to allow it to take off.

County commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said wrong information fed to residents had hampered the construction of the Sh5 billion dam on Gucha River.

He warned that action would be taken against those who recently burnt houses belonging to villagers who are supporting the project.

The dam is intended to serve urban areas in Nyamira and Kisii counties that are currently facing an acute water shortage.

CLASHES
There has been bloody confrontation between groups of villagers in Miriri, Gachuba ward, Kitutu Masaba.

The clashes have seen houses belonging to people who back the project being set ablaze.

In one incident, Lake Victoria South Water Services Board director Hellen Makone was injured and admitted to hospital.

She was hurt when villagers opposed to the project stormed a consultative meeting and stoned the conveners, including senior police officers from Masaba North Sub-County.

LAND LOSS
Addressing residents during another consultative forum on Wednesday, Mr Nakoru said there was a lot of misinformation going on about the dam, which had prompted a section of the villagers to oppose the project.

“This dam should cease being a campaign tool. Leaders should stop lying to the locals that their land will forcefully be taken away to pave the way for its construction,” he said.
The feasibility study for the project is currently in its second phase. When the first stage of an environmental impact assessment was concluded, most residents were in support of the project.

COMPENSATION
Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa early this year toured the construction site and assured residents that those whose land will be used will be compensated.

A topographical survey is under way and it will be followed by valuation of land for two homesteads that are likely to be affected by the construction.

“This dam will be constructed on public land covering four acres. Just one or two homesteads might be affected.

"This will be determined after the completion of the feasibility study that is going on.

"Allow the Lake Victoria South Water Services Board to conclude the feasibility study. They will then talk to those likely to be affected and agree on compensation,” Mr Wamalwa said..