Thika DC resolves water dispute in Gatundu North
26 March 2012, 13:55
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“The most intense conflicts, if overcome, leave behind a sense of security and calm that is not easily disturbed. It is just these intense conflicts and their conflagration which are needed to produce valuable and lasting results”.- Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist.
Earlier this month, News24 User Njenga Mwea wrote a story about Water wars in Gatundu-North that was threatening to escalate into open fighting between two villages, Gachege and Kamunyaka. Skirmishes ensured and property of considerable amount was destroyed, and a huge trench was dug across the road linking the two villages, cutting off road traffic from Kamunyaka, which is on the upper side.
As a result people from Kamunyaka have been walking miles to catch matatus. On Thursday March 22nd Thika DC steeped in to diffuse tension. The residents agreed that a pending court case preventing the expansion of the water project be withdrawn to allow the water project to continue as per the wishes of the people.
To recap the genesis of the whole dispute, this is what happened. In 2005, the residents of Gachege location started a public water project dubbed Gachege/Kamunyaka water project. The project was the brain child of the people, and was to be funded by Gatundu North CDF. People provided labor to lay the pipes and constructed the dam. Five people were chosen to lead the project. When it was completed residents started to get piped water for a small monthly fee. However with time demand for water outstripped supply.
As a result, people downstream could not get water. For this reason, it became clear that a bigger dam and larger pipes were required to satisfy all people with water. This year, Gatundu North CDF allocated 5.2 million for the project expansion. A contractor was awarded the tender for the planned expansion. It is at this point that the unexpected happened. The five members steering the project, and working in concert, rushed to court to block the contractor from starting the work for reasons which, at that point, were not clear to residents of Gachege.
Unknown to all people, the steering committee consisting of the five members chosen to lead the project had secretly registered a company called Kamunyaka Water Company under their names. What this meant was that Gachege/Kamunyaka water project had converted into private company albeit funded by CDF and built by the locals. The five leaders had rushed to court ostensibly to block the contractor from trespassing“private property owned by a private company”.
At this juncture the people of Gachege could take no more and attacked some private school owned by one of the leader blocking the projects, and dug a trench across the road connected the two villages in protest. The five leaders went underground fearing the wrath of the people orhired the police to protect them and their property. As tension built up, the DC organized for a meeting yesterday to resolve the standoff. The dispute was intense, and as Carl Gustav Jung would say, it’s the very intensity that will,hopefully, lay the foundation for peaceful coexistence and respect for other people in future.
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