Date: 19 January 2017 23:21
Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire was Thursday evening shouted down by irate residents of Kavutiri market, after she was caught up in a row on water tariffs.
Ms Mbarire had stood to respond to complaints by residents about the high rates being charged for tap water in the area.
Former Embu County secretary Margaret Lorna Kariuki and nominated MCA Catherine Ndwiga had kicked off a storm after they questioned why people are being charged Sh250 per month yet they live next to the water source.
They complained that residents of Mbeere and the lower parts of Embu are enjoying unlimited supply of the water for Sh100 and are even using it for irrigation.
Ms Kariuki blamed Ms Mbarire for the woes, claiming that the officials of Ngagaka Water and Sanitation Company, who were overcharging the residents, had been installed by the MP before the water sector was devolved.
She said the water is also heavily rationed and is only available only about twice a week.
APPEAL TO WAMBORA
Ms Kariuki urged Governor Martin Wambora to scrap the high charges and provide water at a flat rate since the residents are the ones taking care of the forest where the intake was built.
“It is wrong for us to be overcharged yet we live next to the Mt Kenya water tower. We are asking [that] a flat rate be introduced so that we can enjoy [the commodity],” appealed Ms Kariuki.
She also linked the water woes to Ms Mbarire saying the water project was initiated by the MP and targeted people in the lower zones, forcing those near the water source to experience shortage.
When Ms Mbarire stood to speak, the crowd comprising coffee farmers who had turned up to witness the opening of new offices at Murue Coffee Factory drowned her voice with shouts of “water! water!”
Ms Mbarire’s attempt to absolve herself from blame saying that the water sector had been devolved only attracted more boos, forcing her to leave the podium.
Mr Wambora said he was equally shocked by the booing, but said the residents had a genuine complaint which he promised to address once they write a memorandum.
“They were shouting about water. It seems that their key problem is water for domestic use. I have told them to bring me the petition. We have the water here and it should not be a problem to anyone,” he said,