The water wars between Murang’a and Nairobi counties have hit fever pitch after Governor Mike Sonko warned his counterpart Mwangi wa Iria against interfering with the city’s water supply.
Speaking on Thursday, Sonko asserted that Ndakaini Dam, which supplies 84 percent of the city’s water, is owned by the Nairobi County Government.
According to Governor Sonko, the Nairobi County administration purchased the parcel of land on which the Ndakaini Dam sits and even compensated residents who were displaced from the water tower.
“Ndakaini Dam was acquired by Nairobi County and we compensated Murang’a residents who were displaced from that area. In addition to Ndakaini, we have ownership documents for Ruiru Dam, Thika Dam and Ngethu in Gatundu,” said Sonko.
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The governor was speaking during the official opening of the Nairobi International Trade Fair by President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday.
In a thinly-veiled threat, Sonko said that Governor Wa Iria has property constructed on a road reserve in Nairobi, hence, he could also face action should he interfere with the Nairobi water supply.
“This governor who is threatening to cut supply of water to Nairobi has built on a road reserve in Nairobi. If he dares shutdown Nairobi water… My friend, let me not bring politics here because the president is around,” said Sonko.
Governor Wa Iria set the stage for fresh controversy after he said at least 25% of the revenue generated from water channeled to Nairobi from Ndakaini must be given to Murang’a county, failure to which he will cut supply of water to the city.
Leaders from Murang’a have from time to time argued that it’s ironical for people of the county to suffer water shortage while its resource is channeled elsewhere.
The protracted wrangles over water in Murang’a County, began with a tussle between Governor Mwangi wa Iria and businessman Peter Munga over the management of the Murang’a Water and Sewerage Company(MUWASCO).
The governor dethroned Mr. Munga from the chairmanship of MUWASCO leading to protests after the company disconnected the supply of water in Murang’a.
Wa Iria retaliated by asking residents not to pay bills to the Murang’a water company, a move condemned by Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui who said governor Wa Iria overstepped his mandate.
On Wednesday, CS Chelugui said the Murang’a County Government has no right to call for a 25 percent share of revenue collected on water supplied to Nairobi.