Taita-Taveta County leaders have vehemently opposed plans by the national government to divert the multi-billion shillings Mzima II water pipeline arguing that such a move will isolate some residents from benefitting from the project.
The leadersled by Voi MP Jones Mlolwa and several county assembly members (MCA) said they will not sit back and watch people from Mombasa and its environs enjoy water, whose source is in their county, as is the case with Mzima 1.
We shall resist the government plans to interfere with the original design that would ensure lowlands residents in the county benefit from the mega project that would cost the government Sh.42 billion, warned the leaders.
Speaking during the Madaraka Day celebrations at Tausa divisional headquarters in Voi Sub County yesterday (Friday), the elected leaders said the project should adhere to the original plan and any attempts to divert it to the Tsavo National Park would be loudly resisted.
Mlolwa told the County Commissioner Rodah Onyancha, who read the Presidential speech to mark the Madaraka Day occasion and Deputy Governor MajalaMlagui that they would not allow the project to be diverted through the park, as this would disadvantage thousands of residents in lowlands of Ngolia, Mbololo, Sagala and Kasigau wards.
If the government fails to follow the original design, then we will not allow the project to continue as it will not be serving the local community’s interests, warned the opposition legislator.
The MCAs who opposed the new design included Ahmed Omar (Kaloleni), Godfrey Mwambi (Mbololo) Jones Mganga(Ngolia) and Nominated MCAs BertinaMwaiseghe and Catherine Mwakiwiwi.
Omar noted it would not be in the best interest of the residents if the national government reneged on its earlier promise that the project would first benefit locals before it is rolled out to other counties.
Mwambi warned the government not to go against the wishes of the local community.
We are aware that the original design has already been changed. The government should relook at the issue for the smooth implementation of the project, the ODM legislator.
Recently, the Coast Water Services Board officials presented the new design to stakeholders. The design indicated that the project will follow the 1957 Mzima I plan and will pass through the Tsavo ecosystem.
Mganga pointed out that government would be denying the people of Taita access to God given available natural resources.
The source of Mzima springs is in the county and its benefits should go directly to the local community that has been starving for years, added Mganga.
The project comes at a time when the county is still grappling with persistent water shortages especially in the low land areas despite the region being endowed with enormous water bodies like Mzima and Njoro springs, Challa and Jipe lakes.
A recent survey carried out by the Africa data and Information Network on behalf of Maji and Ufanisi shows that the County has not been able to adequately meet its water demand.
The report indicates that the region requires 15 million litres of water per day to meet its rising demands, but is currently receiving only 7 million.
Source: Kenya News Agency