Sensitization meeting characterized by low turnout

A meeting to sensitize Marakwet West residents on the importance of the multibillion Arror dam project was on Wednesday rescheduled after the locals boycotted it.

The meeting that was to be chaired by Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner (CC), Abdullahi Galgalo was characterized by low turnout as some of the locals chose to work in their farms while others waited to be supplied with fertilizers at Kapsowar town.

When Galgalo with other administration officers arrived at Hossen Mixed day secondary school grounds, the meeting’s venue in the afternoon, they were welcomed by almost empty ground leading to his decision to set another day for the sensitization program.

One of the residents, Edwin Cheserek said they were not interested in the construction of the Sh.35 billion multipurpose dam, adding that the State officials wanted to present a status report on the purchase of land to settle the affected residents.

The dam, to be constructed at Kipsaiya area in Marakwet West, covers approximately 2, 000 acres occupied by about 800 families.

Some villagers had prior to the meeting written to the Italian Embassy seeking to halt the construction of the project that was set to produce electricity and supply water for irrigation to the drought prone Kerio Valley.

The project is funded by Italian government and is being implemented by Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA).

The CC said they had organized the meeting together with other State officials to sensitize the locals on the importance of the project that was set to benefit both those living on the highlands as well as the lowlands.

He however warned the residents against inciting the youth to oppose the construction of the dam.

Some of the locals are being fed with misleading information about this project. Others have been incited. We are asking residents to stop misleading the youth on an important government project, he said.

The Galgalo said he was optimistic that residents opposing the project would embrace it once public participation was completed.

Source: Kenya News Agency