Uhuru cancels Kimwarer dam project, approves Arror after probe

Wednesday September 18 2019

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday cancelled the Sh22.2 billion Kimwarer dam project following an investigation that established that it was technically and financially unfeasible.

President Kenyatta also issued an order for commencement of the Sh28.3 billion Arror dam project as the technical committee he appointed to look into the developments found it economically viable.


These are the project values according to a statement State House issued on Wednesday but earlier reports indicated that Sh63 billion was spent.

The investigation followed revelations that the projects were non-existent yet billions had been pumped into them.

In July, Mr Kenyatta appointed Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani to serve as acting Treasury CS after office holder Henry Rotich was charged over the dam scandals.


Mr Rotich and Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge are among more than 10 individuals charged with multiple counts including abuse of office, conspiracy to commit an economic crime, conferring a benefit and single sourcing for the insurance of the projects, and approving payment contrary to the law.

The President made the decisions on the fate of the two dams in Elgeyo Marakwet County after receiving the report of the technical committee he formed following allegations of irregularities.

Regarding Kimwarer, the team led by Infrastructure PS Paul Maringa reported that it was over-priced.

"The committee established that no current reliable feasibility study had been conducted on the project," stated a statement from State House.


The team also noted that only study on a similar project was conducted 28 years ago and that it revealed a geological fault across the 800-acre project area.

"This would have negative structural effects on the dam," it said, adding residents would be displaced, resulting in the need for compensation.

On the technical design, the team said pumping would be required for water supply and that this would be unsustainable.

President Kenyatta gave the go-ahead for the Arror project as the team found it economically viable.

However, since it was also found to be overpriced, a cost rationalisation plan was recommended.

In addition, the team advised that is height be reduced from 96 metres to 60 metres, as the latter was found to be unviable.

"The report said, "The optimised dam will be technically viable since it will only require about 250 acres of land and cost Sh15.4 billion with power and Sh13.1 billion without power."

With these modifications, work on the dam will begin immediately.


The other members of the committee were Quantity Surveyor and engineers Benjamin Mwangi and John Muiruri.

Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen read malice in President Kenyatta’s announcement.

“The report of the cancellation of Kimwarer Dam and restructuring of Arror Dam does not come to me as a surprise. 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. It is a shame that Maringa, Matu, Mwangi and Muiruri, who have no knowledge or attachment to the region, have misled the President. The technical committee did not consult anyone, neither did they carry out any public participation,” the senator said.

Mr Murkomen urged the President to constitute a transparent team with a national outlook to evaluate the projects.

“We are consulting, as the people of Elgeyo Marakwet County, and we shall do everything within our means to ensure that justice is not only done, but seen to be done to our people,” he said.


The technical design of Kimwarer Dam indicates that the water would have involved pumping, an aspect the technical committee found to be unsustainable in terms of operations and maintenance costs,” the report says.

“After a detailed technical review, the Technical Committee was satisfied that Arror Multipurpose Dam Project is economically viable but noted that it was overpriced. As such, the committee recommended to the President a cost rationalisation plan that will ensure that the project is implemented cost-effectively without affecting its performance and output,” a statement from State House reads.

It indicated that the committee had prepared a new bill of quantities for the dam, with its height reduced from 96 to 60 metres. “The optimised dam will be technically viable since it will require only about 250 acres of land and cost Sh15.4 billion with power, and Sh13.1 billion without power. The dam was previously estimated to cost Sh28.3 billion,” it noted.