Garissa MCAs plan to lead mass protest over water crisis

By: ABDIMALIK HAJIR

Some members of the Garissa County Assembly have vowed to mobilise Garissa Town residents into a mass protest if the county administration does not address the acute water shortage in the next four days.

Speaking to the Nation in Garissa Town, Ijara Ward representative Mohamed Abdullahi said they have given a four-day ultimatum to the Garissa Water and Sewerage Company (Gawasco) and the county government to solve the water crisis that has subjected the residents to a lot of agony.

The MCAs claimed that the management has turned a blind eye to the sufferings of the people of Garissa Town after going without the crucial commodity for more than two weeks.

They, at the same time, accused the county officials of sleeping on their job.

“We have given the county administration four days to ensure residents get water failure to which we are going to mobilise people so that we camp at the office of the governor and the offices of Gawasco to ensure the residents get water,” he said.

CORRUPTION CLAIMS

The Ijara Ward MCA claimed that the water company is riddled with mega corruption and that distribution of water is being compromised by corrupt employees demanding for kickbacks.

An acute water shortage has hit the entire Garissa Town for the last two weeks forcing resident to buy untreated water from private suppliers using water boozers at exorbitant prices.

Last week, Gawasco public relation officer Omar Abdullahi assured the residents that their taps would be running but nothing has been forthcoming since then.

On Friday last week, there was drama after members of county assembly stormed the company’s main offices in Garissa Town demanding the resignation of the acting managing director, technical manager, commercial manager and the head of human resources.

The water company has been dogged by management wrangles between top officials.

BUYING BOTTLED WATER

In some areas of the town, the Nation established that families which could not access water from the private water suppliers had to resort to buying bottled water for domestic while hotels and lodgings were depending on water boozers.

Waberi Ward representative Yussuf Dadle said the management of Gawasco should be sent home for failing to provide water despite drawing huge salaries at the expense of taxpayers adding that water is basic human needs for everyone.

On Sunday, Garissa Township MP Aden Duale said it was unfortunate that Garissa residents were suffering due to lack of water while the county government and Gawasco in particular had access to huge financial resources.

Mr Duale said water as a devolved function, is a basic need and the county government ought to take it seriously by making sure that every family in the county has access to clean and adequate water.

WOMEN MOSTLY AFFECTED

“This morning more than 200 women came to my house complaining of the persistent water shortage.

“Women are mostly suffering and Gawasco must take responsibility and give water to Garissa residents,” he said

“It is unfortunate that there is no water while River Tana is just passing less than 3 kilometres from Garissa Town.

Today, there is no water in the mosque, there is no water in hospitals, no water for mothers who are delivering. Gawasco should ensure there is water for Garissa residents,” said Mr Duale.

Sources within Gawasco, however, claimed that there has been sabotage in the distribution of water in the entire town.

The sources claimed that a senior employee who is eyeing the managing director’s position has been interfering with the smooth running of the company.