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Monday, 17 January 2011

The Anchor December 2010

The rush begins

THREE counties of Ukambani have been shaking from beneath as competing forces strategize on a future under the rule of County Governors.

Virtually every county has held both formal and informal meetings at both political and professional levels to plan, scheme or brainstorm on what to do with the counties.

The political meetings have approached the issue with partisan interest, with political groups from opposing camps scheming the way forward on how to occupy the seats created in Kenya’s New Constitution.

Other more structured meetings have taken place in the three counties under the aegis of the Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), jointly with the Kamba Council of Elders and the Mutui Museo Initiative.

The KenInvest forums have taken the shape of apolitical approach to the issues that counties and their leadership will face in coming days, rather than plotting about who will occupy which seat in coming days.

The trio have held meetings in the three counties, openly claiming that they have consulted with Members of Parliament from Ukambani and obtained their blessings to press ahead with their meetings to aggregate the community’s agenda for the future in the three counties.

In Machakos, Mutui Museo’s Convener Isaac Kalua and Kamba Council of Elders’ Mr Sam Muumbi were categorical that they had struck an understanding with the MPs that they coordinate the meetings without the MPs’ participation.

To drive their point home, they said they held a meeting with MPs on August 24 2010 and obtained their blessings to hold the county forums. They followed up the meeting with a national forum for professionals that was held at Panafric Hotel on October 12,2010.

The Machakos Forum followed on October 29,2010, then the Makueni one on November 5,2010 and the last held in Kitui on November 12,2010.

They set November 25-27 as the date of what they called a Regional Investment Conference, to be held in Machakos.

More importantly, the forums identified 10 specific sectors that will be crucial to the management of county governments in Machakos, Kitui and Makueni.

The sectors identified are: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Information, Communication Technology (ICT) and Communication, Education, Culture, Civic Education, Infrastructure Development, Resource Mobilization- Human and Financial, Energy, Planning and Industrialization/ manufacturing.

The team then formed a team to spearhead organization of County Summits in Machakos under the leadership of Businessman Mr Tito Kitulu, who conveniently chairs the Lower Eastern Property Owners Association.

As fate would have it, the Kitui and Makueni meetings went on with a good measure of success, but the Regional Investment Forum was caught up with the strains of time and was called off days before it was due. It is believed that the team chosen in Makueni, Kitui and Machakos are still planning for the conference.

Observers were apprehensive about the meeting, not because of the agenda but indeed the players behind it.

For it must be said that residents are still uneasy about the group of men and women who call themselves the Kamba Council of Elders and even more, with the Mutui Museo Initiative, a grouping that came together seeking to raise funds for famine stricken Ukambani families in the last dry season that wreaked havoc in Ukambani.

There is no doubt that the idea is nobler than both the elders and Mutui Museo. Even as questions abound as to whose interests the two groups represent in Ukambani, it must be admitted that they have at times risen to the occasion to serve crucial interests of the Akamba. So who indeed are these fellows? Well, that is a question for another day.

Even then, it seemed to those present in the meetings that the two groups had noble ideas that needed support- at least for the time being- as there was dire need for such intervention in the three counties.

The need for such intervention was seen in the background of the organization that was emerging from professionals in communities that neighbour Ukambani, who have put their best foot forward to plan for their counties ahead of the general election of 2012.\

Observers were still questioning why KenInvest would want to get involved in what was a process for the people of the Ukambani counties to take ownership of the affairs of their areas as is required of them by the Constitution.

The Constitution’s Devolution objects say that the counties have been created so that locals can take responsibilities of managing affairs within their counties and it is curious that Kenya Investment Authority(KenInvest) would want to get among the Akamba to help them sort out their destiny in the devolved dispensation.

In the political front, leaders continued to express their interests in seats within the counties. In Kitui, Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu has declared she will seek the position of Governor. Mwingi South MP David Musila is expected to declare his interest by the end of December in a rally in Mwingi, although it is speculated that he has his eyes on the Senator’s post.

In Machakos, Kangundo MP Johnson Muthama announced in Masinga that he would seek to be Governor(See earlier story elsewhere in the paper). Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti and Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo are expected to seek the post of Governor.

In Makueni, Retired Judge Kasanga Mulwa has been making moves that leave everyone believing that he wants to be Makueni Senator although he has not made a bold declaration. Justice Mulwa has been holding Civic Education meetings allover the County he once represented as MP to help citizens understand the provisions of the new Constitution. Former Mbooni MP Konzolo Munyao is reported to harbour similar aspirations though he remains significantly absent from the ground.

Kaiti MP Gedion Ndambuki is reportedly eying the Governor’s position, along with Prof Kivutha Kibwana, former MP Agnes Ndetei and former Permanent Secretary Mr Sammy Kyungu.

Though the slots for Senator and Governor seem to be most attractive, counties also have other prime positions. There will be a possible 22 positions for Members of Parliament, Deputy Governors who will be running mates of Governors, Speakers for each of the County Assemblies and Members of the County Assemblies. Besides, each Governor will appoint a per centum of County Executive Committee Members, who will serve as Cabinet of the county. Each county is also expected to elect a Woman Representative to the Senate, a position that former Nominated MP Grace Mwewa has offered herself for.

The coming two years promise to be eventful as leaders seek all positions including those to be created for the management of Municipalities of Machakos, Mavoko and Kitui-













Machakos Taxi men ponder

future amid theft and death



Police in Machakos are investigating in¬ci¬dents in which a number of taxis op¬er¬ating in the town have been stolen and some drivers murdered.

Machakos OCPD Richard Kerich said de¬tectives have swung into action to un¬ravel the mysterious thefts that have rocked the town in the recent past.

“We have launched investigations and we appeal to anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of those behind the racket to volunteer it to us in con¬fi¬dence”, he said, a typical clarion call by the police when they have no clue what is going on.

The murderers pose as passengers before they turn against the un¬sus¬pecting taxi drivers.

A taxi drivers has died in such incidents and the incidents have send taxi drivers to the drawing board to develop a strategy o overcome the death trap. Taxi op¬erators in Machakos are so disjointed if not dis¬or¬ga¬nized that they operate so loosely that they have become easily gullible.

The police boss spoke days after the bru¬tal murder of a local taxi driver whose body was found dumped around Salama area three days after his disappearance.

The late Musyoki Kasivu alias “spider” went missing after people possing as cus¬tomers hired him.

His colleagues say his attackers appeared to have strangled him before stabbing him several times and gauged out his eyes.

Mr.Kerich advised the taxi operators to exercise caution when dealing with “strange” customers to avoid such un¬for¬tu¬nate incidents. This call is strange in itself as Taxi operators can hardly know all their passengers. Only an organized strat¬egy- like a booking office where cus¬tomers register some crucial details is likely to stem this especially where the customer in unknown to the driver.

He called on the drivers report to the po¬lice whenever they suspected their would be clients for action. Drivers who did not want to be quoted for security reasons said they were worried of their security.

The drivers said most of the vehicles being targeted are new Toyotas.More than ten taxi vehicles have been stolen in the town since the begging of the year, with atleast seven going without trace.

A victim whose vehicle has not been traced since it was stolen in June said his attackers had asked him to drive them to Athi River at about 7.30pm but turned against him on arrival.



Councillors seek dissolution of

Mbooni CDF team over graft





FINALLY, the curtains are coming down for Mbooni CDF leaders who have plun¬dered the fund since they routed Councillor Peter Mwanthi close to two years ago.

Now fourteen councilors from Mbooni con¬stituency are demanding the imme¬diate dissolution of the Mbooni Con¬stituency Development Fund (CDF) committee, citing graft.

The civic leaders who met at Mbumbuni market under the chair¬manship of Makueni county council Town Planning committee chairman councilor Jack¬son Ngovi called for a forensic audit of the CDF by the relevant agencies. Ironically, Ngovi is a mem¬ber of the CDF Team and was the ring leader of the group that fought tooth and nail to remove Mwanthi with support from former Mbooni CDF Man¬ager George Malinga.



They urged area MP and Justice min¬is¬ter Mutula Kilonzo to step in and streamline the CDF operations in or¬der to achieve the desired goals.But those who know how Mr Kilonzo operates do not see the possi¬bility that he will send Mr Mutulili packing. Given the ri¬val¬ries between leaders in Mbooni, Mutula would rather let the KACC and CMC take action so that he is not seen as dis¬missing Nzeki and lose political support from Kikima area. Yet, other observers who know the politics of Mbooni say that Mr Kilonzo will lose nothing by either dis¬missing the CDF team or keeping them in office at the current Mbooni MP does not intend to defend his seat in 2012.

This situation has infuriated a pro¬fessional in Mbooni who see the CDF case as that of dereliction of duty by both the MP, his CDF appointees, the CMC and KACC, all of whom have known for over one year that public funds were in suspect hands in Mbooni. Holding a copy of The Anchor Sep¬tem¬ber 2009, the professional posed: "The claims Mr Kilonzo is raising now were published in this paper long ago and nothing happened. Is this not sheer pre-tence on his part now that matter are at a point of no return?"

The councilors criticized the chairman, councilor Nzeki Mutulili who boy¬cotted the meeting for allegedly running the CDF as a personal entity.“Mbooni CDF is run by the chairman, the Account Manager and the District Development Officer ,totally ig¬noring the other Con-stituency De¬vel¬opment Committee (CDC) mem¬bers”, the y claimed.

The civic leaders claimed the recently ac¬quired CDF Land Rover which bears GK registration was being used by the chairman for personal errands and should be investigated. It is alleged that Nzeki is driven in the land-rover to a university in Nairobi where he is allegedly funded by CDF.

But Mr Nzeki dismissed their call for disso¬lution of the CDF committee, terming their move mere politics.He denied that he had been invited to the meeting, adding he would not have attended it because the agenda was to fight him.

“These councillors want to come and eat CDF money and I cannot allow this as the chairman, no way”, he said in typical grand¬standing. Mbooni CDF has been in turmoil ever since the re-moval of Mr Mwanthi and calls to probe the usage of the funds has landed on deaf ears, with Mr Kilonzo staying far re¬moved from the realities facing the fund.

The situation is so worrying that the lists that are posted on the CDF website for Mbooni can not be relied on for an account of CDF.Local leaders in¬cluding Councillor Oscar Kalia and Mr Peter Mwanthi also cited that during the year 2010-2011, ev¬ery location has been allocated projects amounting to 1.8million but to their sur¬prise some of other locations have not received a cent. Some of these locations include Katangi , Athi and Kathulumbi lo-cation of Kalawa Division – other areas are Waia ward and Kiteta ward

Meanwhile,the Constituency De¬vel¬opment Fund (CDF) National Man¬agement Board and the KACC have launched in¬ves¬ti¬gations into alleged graft in some of the CDF funded projects in the con¬stituency.

The two agencies visited the area and in¬ter¬viewed a Chief, residents and Projects Management Committee(PMC) officials and took away some documents.

Their probe follows letters written to them by area MP and Justice minister Mutula Kilonzo expressing his dis¬appointment with the way money allocated to some of the projects had been managed.

KACC investigators visited some CDF projects in Kalawa division last week be¬fore travelling to the CDF offices at Kikima where they took away more documents.

Machakos Catholic Bishop Mar¬tin Kivuva who is a Director of CDF Na¬tional Man¬agement board led a team to Kalawa girls school where they ex¬pressed shock at its status.



The Anchor has for months run sto¬ries about the fate of CDF in Mbooni and Kalawa Girls in particular and no action has been taken. The situation on Kalawa has been that of outright theft of pub¬lic resources and citizens have been up in arms over the theft for a long time now.







Kitui edges closer to mining

of vast coal deposits



THE Kenya Government has closed the global bids invitation to concession the Mui Basin Coal blocks in Kitui County.

More than 16 international giant coal mining firms had big to extract the Coal resource after an invitation by the Ministry of Energy.

This development brings Kenya at the edge of joining the world league of Coal mining nations.

Coal is used in among others, the generation of cheap electricity. Kenya spends a large amount of her foreign exchange earnings importating crude oil because deposits of oil or natural gas resources have not been discovered in the country.

The current situation is such that 67 per cent of Kenya ’s total power is generated from hydro sources, 10 per cent from geo-thermal and 23 per cent from thermal which is price sensitive to fluctuating international fuel prices.

A Financial Consultant to the process Mr Henry Kiema,, who represented the Kitui County residents as an observer when the bids were opened, well known coal mining conglomerates from China, India, South Africa, the United States, , Australia and the United Kingdom expressed their interest in the unexploited business.

Three Kenyan firms Rift Valley Resources, Africa Power and Logic Lamu Infrastructure Company are among the bidders.

The Foreign firms are Brazil’s Vale Incl, TATA Power of India and China Nomation Machine & Export Corporation, BHP Bilton of South Africa, Coal India, and Continental Coal of Australia, London Coal Corporation, Venmyn Rand of South Africa, Adhijeet Group of India; RSV Enco of South Africa, and Fenxy Mining Industry Limited of China.

Some of the foreign respondents a stocky background coal mining that runs into four decades. Chief Geologist Mr. John Omenge says the ministry was studying the bids to prequalify them.

“The Ministry of Energy will in the next 30 days review the submissions and shortlist the firms for invitation for technical proposals, based on a set criterion, Mr Omenge said.

The opening of the bids was held at Nyayo House and there was open optimism over the State’s resolve to offer the 490.5 Sq kilometers for full exploitation.

Investors wishing to extract the coal reserves in the Mui Basin of Kitui County were supposed to prove their ability to raise investment funds in excess of Sh 8 billion.

Conditions given by the Government say prospective investors must also demonstrate their technical capability and a history of coal mining projects of similar nature in not less than three developing countries.

“The eligibility criterion were contained in an advertisement placed by the Ministry of Energy in mid September inviting bids from international mining firms to lease coal blocks for purposes of exploitation and development”, said Mr Omenge

“Those interested will have to prove ability to raise funds in excess of $100 million for the projects on Block A, Block B, Block C and Block D”, said the advertisement notice carried in the local daily press.

Coal is anticipated to ease Kenya’s over dependence on shaky hydro-electric power while also cushioning the country’s economy against the rising global oil prices.



OPINION





Why I pledge to take water to

all the needy corners of the country



By Charity Ngilu



As you all know, corruption fights back. It fights back more viciously when the corrupt have their defenders, agents and godfathers within the Government.

There are many such Godfathers in government. These are people who come into government with the idea that public funds are meant to be looted using all sorts of schemes and claims. Sometimes they succeed. When they fail, they fight back. That is what Hon Kiunjuri was in my ministry. Because I refuse to co-operate in pilfering public funds, he failed to deliver to his agents. He is fighting back.

Let me shed more light on the genesis of the allegation against me and the Ministry.

One of the largest dams we are constructing is Umaa Dam.

One of the Contractors, Draft and developed Engineers Ltd, owned by Ms Mary W.Mungai and Mr. Peter KIbe, engaged in this dam, submitted to the consulting engineer three different claims dated the same day 24th September 2009 totaling to a sum of 935,883,666.13.The consultant engineer evaluated the claim and recommended that it should be rejected on the basis that it did not have sufficient justification.

Further in their letter to the MD OF National Water Corporation dated 20th July 2010 the contractor issued a financial appraisal that inflated the cost of the work. The appraisal totaled Ksh 1,476,955,955.79 and showed that this project cannot be completed unless another Ksh 652,498,835.48 is paid.

That was way above the cost agreed in the contract and there was no justification for it. The management of the company is well known to the former Assistant Minister.

On august 30, 2010, the contractor, jointly with the new Chairman of the Board of the National Water Corporation and my former Assistant Minister visited the dam site to inspect the progress of works.

It was also during this site visit that I learned through the chairman and my former assistant minister that the contractor was demanding to be paid an additional claim of Ksh652, 498,835.48 over and above the contract sum in order to complete the project.

I never understood and still don’t understand how the assistant minister and the chairperson arrived at these additional costs which had not been discussed by the management or even the Corporations board. I did not understand and I still don’t understand why they wanted these claims paid against the professional advice of the consultant engineer who had already rejected the claims.

It therefore came as no surprise to me that Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri has continued to cast aspersions on the credibility, integrity and professional of the consultants supervising these works.

It is my conclusion that the Hon Kiunjuri intention is to have “friendly” consultants so that these outrageous claims can be paid. He knows that this cannot happen under my match while I am here.

I want to inform Kenyans that I remain vigilant and steadfast in implementing the mandate of this ministry particularly by taking water to parts of this country where it has remained only a dream 47 years after independence.

I am committed to living Kenyans value for money. The women in Turkana, Ukambani, Mandera, Carissa, deserve water, like in other parts of the country.

I will take water to this dry area at whatever cost, ensuring value for money. I call for a stop to this witch hunting and any other form of diversionary tactics that derail me from delivering on my mandate to provide water to all Kenyans.

The writer is Kenya’s Minister for Water and Irrigation



Mavoko Water Company makes

big strides in service provision



Mr. Joseph M. Musau



Our major mandate is to provide wa¬ter and sew¬erage services within Mavoko municipality and its environs. We have tried our best as a com¬pany bearing in mind that we don’t have our own source of water but are net importers of wa¬ter. Despite all this we have con¬tin¬ued to supply the water that we get from our two major suppliers namely Nairobi Water Com¬pany and Nol-turesh pipeline bulk water supply.

Challenges

1)- Drought.

We had a major drought in the country in 2009. This affected our water supply due to the ra-tioning programs that were ne¬cessi¬tated by the circumstances be¬yond us. This contributed so much to the loss that we in¬curred during the fi¬nan¬cial year ended 30th June 2009 as a result of re¬duced volumes of wa¬ter supply that we received.

2)- Export Processing Zone Authority-Com¬pe¬tition.

We have continued to face stiff challenges from EPZA who have re¬fused to com¬ply with the water Act 2002. This has dragged for so long despite prom¬ises from the rel¬evant authorities in the water sector. This has even brought confusion among the customers. For instance there are cus¬tomers who are charged for water by EPZA and our Company for sew¬erage services es¬pe-cially the in¬dus¬tries along Mombasa Road and KMC factory. Sabaki Es¬tate is being served by EPZA and their neighbours’ Valley View estate by our Company.

In order to avoid all these Confusion the relevant bodies should assert their au¬thority and sort out this issue once and for all.

3)-Non Revenue Water.

Un Accounted for water remains a ma¬jor problem not only to our Com¬pany but also in the water sector in our country. We are patrolling along the main lines, servicing of meters and penalizing heavily those who tamper with our meters and ille¬gal connections. We would like to urge the stake holders to report imme¬di¬ately any illegal connections or any body found tam¬pering with our reticulation system. We will also be addressing the infrastructure by up grading because some of them are dilapidated. Al¬ready we have started and will con¬tinue un-til we are satisfied with the re¬ticu¬lation systems.

4)-Private Borehole owners.

We appre¬ciate the role played by the pri¬vate bore hole owners for supple¬menting water in cer-tain areas such as Mlolongo and Syokimau. How¬ever, we request Tanathi Water Services Board to drill bore holes, spe¬cifically in Mlolongo,Sokimau,Kyumbi,Katani and Kinanie areas so as to tame the cartel of the private Bore hole owners who are com¬peting with our Company.

5)-Old Sewer Lines.

The population has grown fast and the systems that we have at the moment were meant for few consumers. How¬ever, we have been upgrading the old Sewer lines in the Athi-River town particularly Makadara,Site and ser¬vices scheme es¬tate. We will con¬tinue to all other es-tates par¬ticu¬larly Slota, KMC, Mavoko housing and Masaku Scheme. We appeal to Tanathi Water Service Board to Constuct new Sewer Lines for the entire town.

6)- Vandalism of the Manhole Covers

We are surrounded by scrap metal fac¬to¬ries and demand for metal is high. However, in order to reduce the van¬dalism of the manhole covers we were forced to import manhole covers from China. We have noticed again the vandalism of the same is high and we appeal to commu¬nity to report or appre¬hend any body found van¬daliz¬ing the manhole covers. We can’t win this war alone without the assistance of the community at large.

Achievements.

1)-Staff Issue.

The Board of Directors continue to be most resourceful group of devoted and respected Kenyans in the Company. Through their efforts the Company was able to finalize Human resource policy manual which will aid the Man¬agement and the Board on matters of Ad¬min¬is-tration. I am most grateful for their time and effort. The Board en¬gaged a con¬sultant to harmonize staff sala¬ries. I’m happy to report that our staff are well motivated and we imple-mented the rec¬ommen¬dations of the consultant.

We have developed the service charter for our Company which will help us as in the service delivery.

2) – Portland dam Project.

We developed strategic and Business Plan for the year 2009-2013. We iden¬tified Portland dam and I’m happy to report the work is 99% Complete and we hope to start pumping water by De¬cem¬ber 2010. Already we have done test pumping two weeks ago. We appeal to the Ministry of Water and Irri¬gation to help in desilting the dam so that we can increase its holding ca¬pacity. The project is being financed by Ministry of housing and we appre¬ciate their gesture.

We expect to be pumping 1000M3 ev¬ery day and this will help us to re¬duce the ever rising demand for water in our ju¬ris¬diction.

3)- New Bore holes.

In order to increase the hours of supply of water, four bore holes in Old town, Makadara, Githunguri and Syokimau were drilled by the Ministry of water and we have seen the impact of them on the ground. We appeal for more bore holes so as to meet the rising de¬mand for water.

4)- Water Services Trust Fund.

We have received a donation of Ksh 10 Million for Construction of 600M3 steal tank and upgrading the 2.7Km long water reticulation system in KMC,Slota and Njoguini. We can assure the resi¬dents of the above mentioned es¬tates that they will be getting enough water as from January 2011. We shall also provide water tanks in the following informal settlements Kosovo,Cannan,Kwa Mang’eli,Kasuitu,JamCity,City Carton kwa were,Kwa Mutiso and all the rest within our jurisdiction in this fi¬nan¬cial year.

5)- Upgrading and extension of water mains.

We were able to upgrade the water line that services the Municipal Council, Wafaa a distance of 1.5Kms. Also, we extended water lines to areas that were not getting water at all like Umoja es¬tate, Acacia es¬tate and kingsize es¬tate in Mlolongo a distance of 3.6 Kms.



5)- Lukenya Sewer Line.

We have witnessed private de¬vel¬opers in real estate are coming to our area of ju¬ris¬diction and for that reason we are con¬structing Lukenya Sewer line so that we can open the area of Lukenya. The line is 8.2 kilometers long and the work now is 70% com¬plete. We hope by June 2011 the line to have been completed.

Once completed, Daystar University and Moke garden estate will be the first ben¬efi¬cia¬ries and all other future de¬vel¬opers. Again the Ministry of Housing is financing the project.

6)- Kenya Association of Manu¬fac¬turers (Athi-River) Chapter

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (Athi-River) Chapter constructed sewer line along Mombasa road and handed over to us. The Line was commissioned last year by the Min¬is¬ter of water and irrigation, Hon.Charity Ngilu. We will encourage the private part¬nership with any investor who would wish to invest in our area.

7)- Performance report of the Com¬pany .

Water Services regulatory board have con¬tin¬ued monitoring the per¬for¬mance of the water services pro¬viders’ per¬for¬mance every year. I am happy to report that our Company was among the top ten most im¬proved based on IM¬PACT a per¬for¬mance re¬port of Kenya’s water services sub-sector issue no.3 by the regulator. We were ranked number 4 in the category of the small service provider and in the whole coun¬try we were number 24. With all the measures we have taken we will continue to aim higher for better ser¬vices for the benefit of our con-sumers.

8)- New Tariff Adjustment.

The Regulator approved our new tariff that we implemented June2010. The Board of Directors looked at it and de¬cided to stag it within the next two years. This will enable the company to improve the in¬fra¬struc¬ture and the op¬eration cost.

On behalf of MAVWASCO Board of Di¬rectors all our supporters and part¬ners particularly KAM Athi-River Chap¬ter, Wa¬ter Services Trust Fund and Ministry of Housing for their out-standing support. I also wish to thank our customers who continue to bear with us de¬spite all the challenges we have been facing as we con¬tinue to serve them. Once again, I thank my Board of di¬rectors for such sac¬ri¬fi¬cial giving as they have con¬tin¬ued to give to the Company.

Looking forward we appeal for more pri¬vate partners to invest in the water sector like how KAM have done. We re¬quest the Tanathi water Services Board to pay attention to Mavoko since the town is growing at a high rate. On a happy note, I was delighted to note that Tanathi Wa¬ter Services Board appointed a con¬sultant to carry out fea¬si¬bility study for both water & Sew¬erage services within our area of jurisdiction and would appre¬ciate if they can move fast and implement the pro¬posals suggested. We would appre¬ciate if a sewer line is con¬structed in Katani, Syokimau and Mlolongo. A lot of in¬fra¬struc¬ture in¬vestment is re¬quired and would appre¬ciate also if our area is also con¬sid¬ered as the other areas too.

As always, there remains plenty of challenges for the Company but I re¬main confident that our dedicated man¬agement team will deliver the ser¬vices as re¬quired. I would like to take this opportunity again on behalf of Board of di¬rectors and the Com¬pany to thank all of you for turning up to our second AGM.

Finally Christmas festive is with us and may you have Merry Christmas and pros¬perous happy new year 2011.



The writer is the Chairman of Mavoko Water Company









Row over grabbed land

In Katelembu rages



Katelembo Officials of Cooperative Societies in Machakos county have been warned against keeping society official documents at their homes.

The county deputy cooperative officer Mr. Peter Makuli said those doing so would be arrested since their action was going against the society rules.

He gave the warning when addressed more than two thousand shareholders of Katelembo Athiani Muvuti cooperative society during their Annual General Meeting at the society grounds at Katheka -kai location

The secretary of the supervisory committee Mr. Nathan Muange was accused of keeping official documents in his custody . He was instantly suspended and replaced by Mr. Patrick Mulaa Wambua who represents Matungulu/Kangundo zone.

The meeting demanded that Mr. Muange returns all the society official documents within two weeks failure to which legal action would be taken against him.

A shareholder Mr. Wilson Masila Muema was also asked to surrender more than seventy acres of society land that he could not ascertain and prove how he acquired.

Mr. Muema according to chairman’s report, was accused of not cooperating with the society officials and at one moment he threatened the society secretary Mr. Daniel Kasinga to physical assault.

Even a meeting called by the ministry of cooperative officials to discuss Mr. Muema’s case ended prematurely after he stormed out when he could not produce any document as demanded by the committee members.

Shareholders also resolved that only those who attend society AGMs will be refunded their travelling allowances and not otherwise.

In his speech the society chairman Mr. Joseph Muinde said to the society only managed to produce 15 metric tones of clean coffee which realized Sh 1.2 million against the estimated 45 metric tones.

The drop of coffee production was due to prolonged drought which also affected the running of some society activities during the last financial year, Mr. Muinde added.

The chairman said that the society had to abandone the horticultural farming since it was not viable although the society had heavily invested in it.

Mr. Muinde told shareholders that the processing of title deeds for the half acre plots situated at chumvi were almost ready and urged them to verify their particulars at the society offices.

He assured those who have not been allocated their plots their cases would be dealt with as soon as possible so long as they register their complaints.

During the meeting three committee members whose terms had expired were all returned unopposed. They are Mr. Daniel Kasinga (secretary) Mr.Joseph Muthama and Gegory Ngui.

Others who addressed the meeting included central D.O Monicah Kang’ethe and society manager Mr. Sabastian Nzau.

Mr. Nzau said out of estimated society income of Sh 15.5 million the society will consume Sh 15 million during the 2011 financial year.

The chairman of the Supervisory committee Mr.Peter Kamba cautioned the society directors against selling of lands and spending the money on the running of the society activities.

He said the vacant land within the society should be sub-divided and allocated to members instead of selling without their approvals.



Mr. Kamba accused his committee secretary Mr. Muange of sabotaging his committee findings of the report which he had taken for typing and never returned even after he was requested to do so.





Umaa Dam: The giant water

project at centre of a storm



UMAA Dam will certainly be the biggest dam ever built in Ukambani for the purpose of providing water for inhabitants of the semi-arid territory.

No wonder, it is in the news- forming the epicentre of claims of corruption in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

Public Works Assistant Minister Mwangi Kiunjuri alleges corruption under the watch of Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu in the ministry- and Mrs Ngilu has deftly moved the same claims on the feet of Mr Kiunjuri.

The Anchor presents what exactly is Umaa Dam. Together with hundreds of dams, water pans, weirs and boreholes that Mrs Ngilu has brought to Ukambani, it is precisely why she is being targeted for alleged graft.

The National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation commenced construction of Umaa dam project in January 2009 to increase water supply to Kitui town and its surrounding environs, which experience acute water shortages, over the years.

The project is located about 7km North East of Kitui town on Nzeeu River immediately down stream of the confluence of Mukoleka and Muvati Rivers.It is at a level where it can supply water by gravity to as far as Ikutha market in Kitui South.

The current water supply in Kitui town, which is mainly from bore hole and supplement from Masinga-Kitui Pipeline, stands at 1,000m/day and serves 25,000 people against water demand of 2,500m/ day. The deficit is mainly attributed to the relatively rapid growth of the town and its satellite areas without the corresponding expansion of water supply infrastructure.

Umaa dam is now being constructed by Draft and Develop Engineers Ltd-contractors with funding from the Ministry of Water and Irrigation. The full scope of works incorporates a 28m high dam, a new water treatment plant, pump house, administration block, staff houses and a pumping main to bring the treated water to an existing tank.

At 28 m high Umaa is classified as a large dam. It has a crest length of 182 m long 7 m wide impounding a reserviour of 870,000m. The sizing and height of the dam have been informed by the capacity of the catchment area totaling 6.3km as well as the maximum rainfall in this catchment.

Bckground

Umaa dam project was initially designed by the Ministry of Water and Irrigation for a design capacity of 2,500m/ day in 1992. It was intended to augment the water supply to Kitui town by an additional 2500m per day. The construction of the dam has, however, not been completed to date. The lapse in commencement of construction thus made a review of the initial design necessary to account for any change that may have occurred in the period since the design.

Review of the design

The review was completed in 2008 allowing the process to go on to the tendering stage.

Project Technical details



The embankment is a zoned type earth fill type 125,000m. It has a 155m long by 18 m wide concrete chute spillway with a capacity of 29.34m/s.

The upstream slope will be protected by using dumped rip-rap. The downstream slope will be grassed as designed. At completion the diversion tunnel will incorporate the draw-off tower to the treatment works as well as the scour pipe for the dam. It will also serve as maintenance access to the draw off tower.

The project shall also have a new pipeline constructed to convey treated water from the treated water tank/ pump house to an existing storage tank 1750m away.



ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDER ATIONS



The environment impact assessment study was carried out in 2008 by the National Water Conservation and Pipeline Corporation. The study report was submitted to NEMA for approval of the project as required by law. Approval was obtained in 2008.

PROJECT COST

The total cost of the project is Ksh. 824,457,120.49











Muthama sets eyes

on Senator's seat





The declaration by Acting Government Chief Whip and Kangundo MP Johnstone Muthama that he would con¬test the post of senator for Machakos County in 2012 has height¬ened the stakes for the post.

Fear and panic is already building up within the county as those who had interest in vying for the seat appear to shy away from announcing their ambitions.

Muthama, a Gemstone dealer, and immensely wealthy politician is ex¬pected to rise the take for the seat due to his gen¬er¬osity to the vulnerable members of society who make the bulky of voters.

So far nobody has publicly declared in¬terest in the Senate seat, but that of the Machakos County Governor is already crowded. Sports Assistant.

Minister and Kathiani MP Wavinya Ndeti has already expressed her interest for the governor’s post along with Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo.. Others re¬portedly in¬ter¬ested in contesting for the seat in¬clude, Former Cabinet Minister John Mutua Katuku, Former Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) boss Kioko Mang’eli. The list is expected to swell with many others, with un¬tested people seemingly eager to attempt to be governor.

Despite confirming that he would contest for the seat, Muthama is planning a landmark announcement that will shake all corners of the county. As we went to press, Muthama has invited professional from the county to a ‘non political event’, which was essen¬tially a luncheon at a Camp Site within Oldonyo Sabuk Game Reserve. Such invitations to such reclusive resorts, complete with a card with the Coat of Arms is indicative of the battle ahead for those willing to face Muthama in the race to be Senator.

And to start the gospel rolling, he first wants to sensitize the residents of the county on what to expect from the leaders they elect to represent them be it in Parliament, Senate or County.



“Before to you consider to elect anyone to any post, be it councilor, Member of Parliament, the Senate or the County, you must demand he/she prints a manifesto detailing what he would do to the constituency in terms of development”, says Muthama. He has funded a series of meetings of pro¬fessionals from the county to brainstorming sessions to strategize on how the devolved system of government and efficient management of taxpayers’ money in the counties would be done.

Recently he held a sensitization work¬shop at Oldonyo Sabuk tourist lodge (Saturday Dec, 4, 2010) where over 1000 professionals from Machakos county met to strategize on the bargaining power for the county. The meeting brought together who is who in the county and the aim was to work out strategies to fast track de¬vel¬opment agenda for the area.

His attention further centres on em¬pow¬ering the residents economically and wants residents of Machakos County to tap from Kangundo constituency the development agenda that he has initiated.

Muthama has put sanity in Sand Har¬vesting to create employment for the youth and increase revenue collection by the Kangundo Town Council with a central collecting place.

“We have given the local people the power to control sand harvesting through formation of Savings, credit and cooperative societies (Saccos) a move that will also create jobs for our youth”, says Muthama adding that already a plot has been identified where sand would be heaped for sale.

Chairman of Kangundo Town Council Sammy Mweki and his councilors among them Boniface Muisyo, Francis Mboya and Grace Mutiwa have vowed to work as a team to further development of the council.

The council has for the last two years been voted the best performing among the country’s 175 local au¬thorities.

The other sector Muthama wants spread to the entire county council of Machakos is to have public transport sector controlled and run by people from the county. To bring sanity in the sector, he has put Matatu stakeholders in one basket in an attempt to eradicate the car¬tel of gangs that collect illegal revenue. The Matatu owners in Kangundo have formed Saccos and loan facilities are available to empower them eco¬nomically.

His attention is also to bring sanity in the Boda Boda transport sector which in the past has become a death trapl not only in Kangundo, but different parts of the country.

In Kangundo District General hospital a ward has also already been set to admit victims of boda boda accidents. He recently hosted over 600 motor bike, bicycle and hand cuts operators at his Tala home where he also presented each with reflector jackets.

It was agreed that the operators form Saccos and open bank accounts representing different stands to make the business manageable in case of accidents.

“We want the operators to be organized to acquire operational licences and act as whistle blowers in road main¬te¬nance and on criminals along the roads”, said Muthama who promised to deposit Sh50,000 to each group upening an account.Muthama has since he was elected to Parliament in 2008 brought new lease of life to Kangundo constituency through efficient management of Constituency Development Fund (CDF), use of his Parliamentary salary towards educating the outshining Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) students and other goodies that have crowned his service delivery.

Every year he funds ten best boys and ten best girls in addition to funding needy students. The first 20 boys and girls, the pioneers of the programme would graduate from form four in 2011.

Muthama a close ally of Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is not only sensitizing the members of the Kamba community from Machakos County, but also wants the community to rise up and be counted to claim elective posts in urban centres and more so in the capital city of Nairobi.



By end of November, he hosted over 500 Professionals from Ukambani region to sell the idea of identifying some constituencies in Nairobi to seek elective posts.

“You must register in a big number as a voter in Nairobi instead of always travelling to go and vote at home. Since it’s a fact that a Kamba MP would be elected in your home constituency why don’t you vote in Nairobi for a Kamba MP or councilor”, he told the meeting at Kenyatta International Conference Cen¬tre (KICC). He faulted members of the community for registering as voters in their respective home constituencies instead of Nairobi to push their own to be elected.



Big improvement in

Machakos water supply





WATER supply in Machakos town and its environs has improved con¬sid¬erably following in the past one month.

It is still unclear whether it is as a re¬sult of efficiency or the fixing of a problem that existed at the newly rehabilitated Maruba Dam.

Residents of Machakos Town now get water daily on an average of at least seven hours each day. This has been the trend for the last one month now, a development that has come after Water and Irrigation Minister Charity Ngilu ordered the revocation of the Water Service Provider license for the Machakos Water Company.

Residents had become impatient after water shortage persisted even after the refurbishment of Maruba Dam.

Machakos Municipal Water and Sewerage Company CEO Eng.Jackson Kaluu said the two main water tanks at Katoloni and Iveti hills were now operating at full capacity.

Even then, Mr Kaluu still has to contend with frequent water bursts as the aged water pipes are unable to bear the pressure that the water is flowing with.

He said focus is now on the replacement of the more than 50 years old pipelines in the town to check frequent bursts due to old age.

The company still has to contend with unaccounted for water to the level of 60 percent of pumped water mainly due to theft of water, illegal connections and burst pipes.

This comes after the Nol- Turesh water company permanently cut ff water supply to Machakos Town.

The perennial water shortage in Kibwezi constituency is set to end following the launch of a major water project in the area.

The rehabilitation and expansion of Umanyi springs project located at the foot of Kyulu hills in Makueni county was commissioned by Water and Irrigation minister Mrs.Charity Ngilu.

She was accompanied a Director of water Eng.Lawrence Simitu, Water Trust Fund C.E.O.,Eng.Jackline Musyoki and TANATHI CEO Eng.Nicholus Muthui among others.

The project to be undertaken in two phases will cost a wooping ksh.290million and is expected to serve an ultimate population of 96,724 when completed.

The minister said the project’s phase one will be funded by the Kenya-Italy Debt for Development Programme at a cost of Ksh.120m.

Mrs.Ngilu was speaking at the source of the Umanyi springs in the company of water director Eng.Lawrence Simitu,CEO Water Trust Fund Eng.Jackline Musyoki and TANATHI CEO Eng.Nicholus Muthui.

The Kitui Central MP called on the Director of the contractor,Birdi Civil Engineers Limited Mr.T.S.Birdi to ensure the project is completed as scheduled.



Mr.Birdi promised to undertake the project, which include construction of the intake works,laboratory equipment,water tanks and a 50kms pipeline in seven months instead of twelve.

Mrs.Ngilu asked Eng.Muthui to explore possibilities of the company bottling the spring water for business purposes.

The minister noted the water was so fresh and clean that it did not require clorine for purification.

Eng.Muthui said the water supply, started by the British colonial government in the early 1900 will be managed by Kibwezi-Mtito Andei Water and Sanitation Company.

The TANATHI boss added service levels of the project will increase from a coverage of less than 30 per cent to over 80.
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