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Water wars in Gatundu-North

07 March 2012, 11:52 Njenga Mwea

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Trouble is building up in Gatundu North, as irate residents destroyed property worth millions belonging to Factory Site School, a private academy located in Gachege Township, Gatundu North.

Sources say that the intention was to burn the school, but the plan was abandoned because boarding pupils were in the school at the time. The owner of the school, Mucheru Muchai, is being accused by the surrounding community of sabotaging its water project with impunity.

A few years ago, residents of Gachege location came together to start a water project that would supply all homes with piped water.

Typical of the people of the area, they did not say tungeomba serikali, but invested money into a common pool, built a big dam in the forest, dug trenches, laid pipes and, bravo, water started flowing. 

A water management committee was set up to run the affairs smoothly, and this is when trouble started.

Members of the committee, and one elderly man in particular, hatched a plan to turn community water project into a private enterprise.

They did this by first denying water to members on the lower lying edge of the location i.e. residents who live past Gachege township towards Kamwangi town.

Then, they hiked rates for the remaining residents. All the monies collected was (and still is being) appropriated into private accounts.

When CDF planned to expand the project to include more residents, committee members opposed the proposal vehemently. Now the residents are fed up and want to go the whole hog in their fight against impunity to salvage their investment.

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