Residents of Gatundu, Kiambu County have rejected President William Ruto’s rallying call to construct the proposed Ndarugo Dam, instead calling on the government to complete Ksh4.2 billion payment owed to them, before the state can move forward with its plans.
The residents, who have been affected by the construction of the Ksh24 billion Karimenu II Dam in Gatundu North, lamented that they are yet to be compensated one year later.
Speaking during a tour in Gatundu North Constituency, Ruto called on Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi to organise how the county government will channel the funds to the lamenting residents.
Local politicians also expressed concern that construction of the Ndarugo Dam will benefit Nairobi residents more than it will help Gatundu constituents.
President William Ruto speaks to Gatundu residents in Kiambu County on September 30, 2023.
Alluding to this, the president directed Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome to ensure Gatundu North residents benefit from the project the same way their counterparts in Nairobi will.
“We have agreed with your leaders, that in Karimenu, there are people who have not been paid their dues. They will be paid before the onset of El Nino. Water CS Wahome organise so that Karimenu residents can access the water” he said.
“We want even those in Gatundu North to access water from Karimenu. We are looking for funds so that it can reach Gatundu people. I would like you to accept the water from Ndarugo we are able to build a dam so that Kamwangi people can access water. But you have rejected it, how do you expect me to develop the area? You want money first?”
“Yes,” the residents said.
The locals expressed their distress over their homes and plantations, including bananas and maize, being submerged by the dam’s water.
They urged the President to address their concerns before any new projects are launched in the area.
“Mr. President, listen to me, these politicians are not telling you the truth. We have water at Ngethu water which is being used in Nairobi but the people here don’t benefit. We were given Karimenu dam and we also don’t benefit from that water,” one of the MCAs said.
President William Ruto commissioning Thiba Dam in Kirinyaga County on October 15, 2022