Self-help group given Sh70m dam after contractor forced to redo it

By KNA On Thu, 12 Dec, 2019 13:52 | 3 mins read
Mukengesya Irrigation Project
Tomatoes in one of the greenhouses at the Mukengesya Irrigation project in Komarock, Machakos County. PHOTO | KNA

The government has officially handed over the Mukengesya irrigation water project to the community after ordering the contractor to redo it.

The Sh70 million dam was handed over to Mukengesya residents on Tuesday by the national government through the office of the county commissioner.

While officiating the function at Mukengesya sub location, Komarock location, Machakos County Commissioner Esther Maina said the government was keen on ensuring all development projects that had initially stalled in the area are completed and handed over to the public.

She commended the National Irrigation Board through for expediting the construction work at the 150,000 cubic meter water reservoir.

“We are here today to hand over this project to the community and the Machakos County government for use in changing the lives of the people of this area. The project is now far much better than when we visited this place and ordered the contractor to repeat the work. We now hope the county government will take up the project and carry out any other improvements needed to help cater for both man and livestock of this area,” she said.

The administrator ordered her juniors to ensure the safety of the dam and green houses.

Ms Maina also called upon the county government to help improve the road network in the area in order to ease the movement of both people and produce from the two greenhouses.

 Patrick Njiiru, an NIB engineer, lauded the project saying it had been done as per the agreed specifications.

On his part NIB County Irrigation Officer, Mr Willy Katembo, said the initial project had planted tomatoes and onions and had already been handed over to the Jirani Wema Women group.

He said the initial plan was to plough back the proceeds from the produce into the undertaking to ensure the sustainability of the project.

“We have already handed this project to the Jirani Wema Self-Help Group who we believe will utilise it for the good of the community .We also want the county government to come on board and get involved in making this project a success even for posterity,” he said.

Raphael Mwendo, who is the Tuthuli B village elder, thanked the government for the project and promised to rally the area residents in taking advantage by exploiting the resource.

Early this month the Machakos County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) called for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate contractors and project supervisors behind shoddy works at several multi-million dams under the NIB.

“It is official. We have written to the EACC Nairobi and given a copy to their Machakos branch inviting their officials to come and investigate why the projects were poorly done,” said Ms Maina who doubles as chair to the committee.

Among the projects to be investigated are the Kwa Munyenze Dam in Mwala Sub-County worthy Sh14.6 million, Mbuuni small dam in Kathiani (Sh13.8m), Kwa Katiwa small dam (Sh13.6m), Kwa Chief in Mavoko (Sh14.4m) and Kwa Mwangi, Kangonde in Masinga (Sh14.4M).

According to reports presented by task forces formed by the committee to evaluate the works, all the dams were found to be poorly constructed with no value for the amounts allocated.

They were also said to have not benefitted the community since they were not holding substantial water as many of their walls had collapsed.

 Local communities around the dams complained that they were not involved in their planning or construction while some demanded to be compensated for pieces of the land on which they are built.

Unibee Construction Company which was contracted by NIB to construct the Mukengesya Dam at a cost of Sh70 million was ordered by the CDICC to redo the works.

This was after the committee visited the site and found that the workmanship was poor and the dam posed a danger to both animals and people.

It also established that the local community had rejected the project since they were never involved in its planning or construction. 

 The committee had also severally tried to summon the project engineers and the contractors to come and shed light on the circumstances in vain.

The dam was finally given a clean bill of health by the CDICC after the contractor addressed the issues that had been raised.

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