The government will spend over 24 billion to construct Karimrnu 2 dam in Gituamba ward of Gatundu North Sub County.
Speaking while issuing crops and structures compensation cheques at Buchana primary school in Kanyoni village on Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary for Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa said that the project will benefit over 850,000 Kenyans.
He said that the world bank funded project which will be erected on 600 acres of land will take 36 months to complete.
Wamalwa who left 45 million worth cheques to farmers said that the over 5,000 affected families will be compensated with alternative land in addition to crops and structures remuneration.
He revealed that farmers whose crops were affected by weather before commencement of the project will also be paid.
The CS said that all the payments would be done before the project commences lauding locals for giving their land to increase water accessibility to Kiambu and Nairobi region inhabitants.
He said that that local supply of construction materials will also be given to locals cautioning the contractor that 70 percent of the employment opportunities from the project must be given to locals to align with the constitutional requirement.
“The first beneficiaries of this project will be locals; there must be a special line to ensure that locals benefit first from both irrigation water and the electricity that will be generated from the project. We will adopt your idea of being compensated with alternative lands in addition to crops and structures remuneration,” said Wamalwa.
Kiambu governor Ferdinand Waititu said that unlike other areas where the government was feuding with locals over land repayment, compensation of Karimu2 affected farmers must be done before commencement of the project.
“Away from giving locals 70 percent of employment opportunities and giving the supply tenders, the land of locals must be compensated before commencement of the project. As the governor of Kiambu, I will not allow what happened to Ruiru people be repeated in Gituamba. Locals must be fully paid back before the project starts,” said Waititu.
Waititu urged locals to utilize the compensation of the government in meaningful activities warning them that embezzlement of the funds would lead to them becoming internally displaced persons.
Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria who represented area MP Wanjiku Kibe who is in Tanzania for parliament duty lauded locals for welcoming the multi-billion project.
“We will generate enough electricity from this electricity some of which we will sell to Kenya Power. The project will also open up Gatundu North which has remained behind in developments over poor leadership,” said Kuria
He urged Jubilee government to remember Gatundu North in more developments hailing residents for leading in voter turnout.
Kiambu CEC for water, irrigation and environment David Kuria said that the area had a lot of water but “sometimes we don’t collate the demand and provision of it. It is my humble request that we conserve water and develop water harvesting mechanisms to avert drought and unforeseen climate changes.”
Athi Water Services board chairman Kimani Wachira urged the community, administration and elected leadership to work together in helping implement the project.
Wachira said that local community needed to benefit from the project further demanding the contractor to award of supply tenders to locals.
“The community will be compensated with land as they plead and again, we will push to have them benefit with water for irrigation as we seek to actualize the project,” said Wachira.