Two State agencies fight over Sh20bn project in Kerio Valley

By: PHILEMON SUTER

Two State agencies have intensified their fight for the control of a Sh20 billion hydro-electric power and irrigation project in Kerio Valley.

Lake Victoria North Water Services Board (LVNWSB) and Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) have even arranged parallel rallies to sensitise local communities about the Arror Dam hydro-electric and irrigation scheme this week.

Interestingly, local politicians have also taken sides in the controversy that is threatening to stall the project Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa says is a key government undertaking.

Even Mr Wamalwa himself has openly supported of KVDA.

Mr Wamalwa who spoke during the launch of infrastructure projects presided over by Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro said the government will not allow differences between the two corporations derail the project.

“This project will significantly boost the economy of the Elgeyo-Marakwet, that is why we are keen to see it through,” Mr Wamalwa said.

20,000 HOUSEHOLDS TO BENEFIT

The project which will be established along River Arror is expected to produce 75 megawatts of hydro-electric power that will be supplied to the national grid.

It will also provide water for irrigating over 6,000 acres of land that will consequently help address perennial food shortages across in Kerio Valley for the benefit of over 20,000 households.

Mr Wamalwa said: “We are fully aware of the squabbles over which agency should implement the project. However, I want to assure you whether it is the left or right hand implementing it, the national govern has prioritized the project.”

“Together with local leaders, we will ensure the project is implemented without trouble. We will work with KVDA and the National Irrigation Board to ensure the project does not collapse,” said Mr Wamalwa who was flanked by KVDA boss David Kimosop.

PUBLIC SPAT

However, this happened even as LVNWSB maintained that it is the implementing agency but Mr Kimosop dismissed the assertion saying only KVDA has the right to see the project through.

And when Governor Alex Tolgos stood to speak, he dismissed KVDA which he said has no success stories in implementing projects.

“We are not happy with KVDA because the only thing we associate them with many stalled projects,” Mr Tolgos said.

Mr Tolgos who attended a meeting called by LVNWSB at their Kakamega offices two weeks ago accused KVDA of undermining his government in undertaking State projects.

“No project can continue here without the knowledge of the governor and the county assembly. We need to scrutinize viability of projects and ensure interests of our people are met. Even the national government consults counties,” he added.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION