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CS blames Governor Wa Iria for water crisis

Wednesday October 3 2018

Water CS Simon Chelugui

Water CS Simon Chelugui when he appeared before Senate committee on Lands on October 2, 2018. He blamed Murang'a Governor Mwangi wa Iria for the protracted water crisis facing the county. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IBRAHIM ORUKO
By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has blamed Murang'a Governor Mwangi wa Iria for the protracted water crisis facing the county.

He said the governor's administration has interfered with the management of water services, leaving the county with inadequate supply of the precious commodity.

The CS told a Senate committee that the misunderstanding over the control and management of provision of water services between the county government and water firms is the source of the woes the county has been facing in the last few months.

WORLD BANK WITHDRAWS FUNDS

As a result of the wrangles, the CS said, the World Bank has withdrawn a Sh130 million facility that was meant to support Murang'a Water Services Company (Muwasco) to expand infrastructure to the lower parts of the county.

“The governor has misled consumers into believing that water can be provided for free. This is not attainable,” Mr Chelugui told the Committee on Lands, Environment and Natural Resources.

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The committee had invited the CS to explain the raging war that has seen the county go without water amid confusion on the management of the commodity.

TAKE OVER MUWASCO

A month ago, the governor declared his intention to take over the management of Muwasco, saying water is a devolved function.

He also accused the management of water firms in Murang'a of embezzling funds and failing to deliver quality services to residents despite taking loans running into billions of shillings. Mr wa Iria further replaced Muwasco Chairman Peter Munga with Joseph Kimura in an acting capacity.

The CS told the committee it is wrong for thousands of people to suffer because of differences between two individuals.

“The county government has pursued illegal actions, key among them attempted firing of company directors and staff without following due process, disruption of the firm’s activities such as tampering with pipelines and other infrastructure, confiscation of office equipment and rendering inaccessible offices by blocking the entrance,” he said.

Noting that the ministry has engaged the county leadership on implementation of water projects, he said the governor has never shown any interest in participating in the consultation regardless of the invitations.