By Yobesh Onwong’a
Kitui South residents have petitioned Kitui County Government to fast track the implementation of the Sh.800 million Kangu-Kangu water project to ease the area’s perennial water shortage.
The 500 cubic metres water project, which is jointly funded by World Vision and the Kitui County Government, is expected to supply water to over 100,000 households and 5,000 livestock.
Once complete, the River Athi-Kanyangi-Maluma-Mutomo-Kanziku-Mutha-Ikutha water supply scheme is expected to solve the water shortage menace that has for ages gripped the remote part of Kitui County.
Commissioning the construction of 500,000 liters storage cum distribution tank at Mutomo hill in 2015, former Governor, Julius Malombe said Kitui was prone to low and erratic rainfall patterns besides cyclical droughts which have over time accelerated water scarcity in the county.
Subsequently, when the incumbent Governor Charity Ngilu was inaugurated she refused a Sh 6 million inauguration budget and asked for the funds to be diverted to provide water to affected households in Kitui East and Kitui South constituencies.
Ngilu said the inauguration ceremony does not have to be lavish and that she can be sworn in without having to incur unnecessary expenses.“All we need on that day is the Bible and venue and it certainly does not cost Sh6 million. Let us be sensitive to the poor in all our actions,” she said.
Governor Ngilu underscored the need to end the perennial water shortages in the area within 100 days of assuming the mantle of the county’s leadership.
“My government has therefore prioritized water provision services across the vast county through large budget allocations to implement numerous water projects in a bid to achieve meaningful development in this county,” she said during her inauguration on August 22, 2017 at Muslim Primary Grounds.
She reiterated her government’s commitment to instill transformative development by ensuring that all households in the county have safe and accessible water points to ease the burden borne by women and children searching for the precious commodity.
“Access to clean and safe water is a fundamental right, not a privilege. It is shameful in this century for Kitui women and mouth to ferry dirty water from rivers just like donkeys. This must end so that our people get to enjoy the fruits of devolution,” noted the Governor.
The Kangu-Kangu flagship water project which is being implemented by the County Government of Kitui in conjunction with World Vision on a fifty-fifty basis is set to serve all six wards in the arid southern Kitui.
However, since the much hyped water provision in the area it is now close to four years of drudgery as the Maluma and Kamutei residents spend close to two days at Ndoboi borehole to get water for domestic use and water their livestock.
Speaking on Wednesday in Maluma Kitui South, Shadrack Nzioka, a resident of Kamutei, faulted the county leadership, saying that for the last 56 years since independence aspiring politicians have used water provision as a campaign tool to their disadvantage.
“As Kenyans from other parts of the country celebrate the fruits of independence, we the people of Kitui South are
languishing in poverty and lack of access to clean and safe water for domestic use,”said Nzioka.
A local woman, Dorcas Manzyo, lamented that women and children are the hardest hit by the acute water shortage, “It is unbecoming for women and girls to survive for a week without taking regular baths. Our hygiene has nosedived and deteriorated over the years due to lack of water. Available water goes for Sh30 per 20 litre jerricans.”
Manzyo argued that some men have fled their homes due to unhygienic conditions of their spouses, adding that women bear the greatest brunt when there is insufficient water for their households.