Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries has warned contractors, both foreign and domestic, against abandoning or mismanaging the country’s water development projects.
Contractors found guilty of such behaviour will be dealt with accordingly, Cabinet Secretary (CS), for the country’s Agriculture Ministry, Mwangi Kiunjuri has said.
CS Kiunjuri made the announcement as he launched an initiative dubbed the Nyanjigi Small-holder Irrigation Project in Kenya’s Kangema Contituency, in the country’s Murang’a County.
He was accompanied by Member of Parliament for Kenya’s Kangema region, Muturi Kigano; Kenya’s Principal Secretary for Water, Joseph Irungu; and Professor. Fred Segor from the country’s Irrigation department. The Ksh289 million (about$2.9 million) project covers about 1,000 acres of land.
These developments come at a time when 41% of Kenyans still rely on unimproved water sources, such as ponds, shallow wells and rivers, while 59% of Kenyans use unimproved sanitation solutions.
These challenges are especially evident in the rural areas and the urban slums. Only 9 out of 55 public water service providers in Kenya provide continuous water supply, leaving people to find their own ways of searching for appropriate solutions to these basic needs.
As such, CS Kiunjuri has also commissioned a Ksh439 million (about$4.4 million) initiative known as the Mirichu-Murika Irrigation project at Kenya’s Githagara area in the country’s Kiharu Constituency.
His department also warned contractors who abandoned their work – thereby increasing total project costs – that the government would not tolerate this level of unprofessional behaviour.
In a previous statement, he announced that Kenya’s government would spend over Ksh4.5 billion (about $45 million) on water projects in the country’s Murang’a County in the current financial year.
The announcement comes at a time when the United Nations classifies Kenya as a chronically water scarce country on the basis of having one of the lowest natural water replenishment rates.
The UN also notes that approximately 80% of hospital attendance in Kenya is due to preventable diseases and about 50% of these illnesses are water and sanitation related.
As such, the country’s government has been undertaking major water projects in recent years to address the problem. However, a number of projects have been stalled, causing their budgets to become inflated.
Now, Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture is taking necessary actions. The Ministry has stated that the government will not allow funds meant to boost agriculture and empower Kenyans to be misappropriated.