President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday, October 18, cautioned politicians not to politicise the Northern Collector Tunnel water project.
The President said the aim of the project is to share water resources to benefit the people of Nairobi as well as the people of Muranga.
The President says the Muranga-Nairobi water tunnel project will harness excess water that would otherwise end up in the Indian Ocean and would not affect water availability in the catchment area or areas downstream.
“We sometimes bring politics where politics is not wanted. This is the life of people. This project is supposed to solve water problems in places like here,” said the President when he spoke to residents of Kamulu in the outskirts of Nairobi.
The President was responding to residents’ complaints of water shortages in the area.
He called on politicians to desist from politicising the project.
“Our politicians should be told that they can engage in politics but they should not do so at the expense of the life of the people,” said the President.
The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leader, Raila Odinga, on October 10 demanded that the government stops the construction of the northern water collector at the Aberdare region, a project he said is being undertaken secretly by the Jubilee administration for “personal gains”.
Odinga said the Northern Water Collector Tunnel Project, allegedly funded by the World Bank, would have dire effect on the people living on the Tana River basin, Murang’a, Garissa and Ukambani regions.
He stated that the project would see the regions turned into deserts five years after its commencement.
“The environmental impact report recognises the danger of the project and states that it may alter underground system.”
“It will also lead to severe loss of water in Tana River and dry up streams in Garissa, Ukambani and Tana River delta. Muranga, Garissa and Tana River will be deserts within five years of the project being launched,” he said.
The Opposition chief accused the Jubilee administration of carrying out the project in secrecy and failing to involve the people living along Tana River basin and other regions that will be affected by the project.
Odinga further claimed that the project goes against the Environmental Management Act and Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation since it poses great threats to the people.
Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said that the Northern Tunnel Project is part of Kenya’s Vision 2030.
Addressing stakeholders at a Nairobi hotel earlier this week, Wamalwa said the project would not just help solve water problems in Nairobi, but Murang’a as well.
He said the project, launched by CORD leader Raila Odinga, during his time as Prime Minister under the Grand Coalition government, is one of the many water projects that the Jubilee administration is focused on launching in a bid to solve water issues in the country.
“There is nothing sinister about the water project. Under Article 23 of the Constitution, every Kenyan has a right to access water, and that is what we want to ensure,” the CS said, adding: “It is through these projects that Kenya will realise Vision 2030, otherwise it would just remain a beautiful document that would not translate to reality.”
The Water CS noted that he was ready to respond to concerns regarding the projects, adding that it is the right of the public to participate in all government projects under Article 10 of the Constitution.