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Governors challenge implementation of Water Act

Wednesday December 14 2016

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU |

Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

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The Council of Governors (CoG) has moved to court to stop Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa from implementing the Water Act.

The Council argues that it is unconstitutional, it excludes county governments and establishes a centralized framework for provision and regulation of water as well as sanitation services.

Through lawyer Muthomi Thiankolu, they claimed that the Act diverts funds meant for county governments to an unnecessary multiple institutions of the national government contrary to the structure of devolution.

They also claimed that the Act was enacted without adequate consultation of concerns raised by county governments hence it undermines unilateral access to clean, safe and adequate water provision.

“In view of the foregoing, citizens of Kenya will suffer irreparable harm and damage if the impugned Act is implemented,” their lawyer said.

According to the Council’s Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Mogeni, the constitution stipulates that the national and county governments be distinct and that they should run independently but conduct themselves with mutual cooperation.

Ms Mogeni claimed that the previous centralized approach kind of government which ruled the country since 1897 to 2010 left many Kenyans without access to basic services and amenities.

She also claimed that previous governments resulted to marginalization and deep rooted socioeconomic as well as political problems.

She also pointed out that the centralized governments left many Kenyans without access to clean, safe and adequate water, sewerage and sanitation and subjected them to poverty, malnutrition, waterborne and communicable diseases.

She alleged that this is why devolution is the only way such ills of the past could be forgotten yet the enactment of the new Act appears to take Kenyans several steps backwards.

“I earnestly believe that Kenyans will suffer irreparably if this Act is implemented because it seeks to effectively repeal several provisions of the constitution through the backdoor,” Ms Mogeni said.

The Majority leader in the National Assembly, Aden Duale, introduced the Water bill in April 2014 which paved way for involved stakeholders to submit their memoranda highlighting multiple conflicts it resulted to.

In April this year, Parliament enacted the Bill and then it was assented by President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 13 before being gazetted.

The Council has sued the Water CS and the Attorney General.