Rivalry between Murang’a Governor and Water PS escalates

Water PS Joseph Irungu when launching a borehole at Mithandukuini area of Gatanga Sub County. He castigated leaders in Murang’a for objecting to the sinking of boreholes.
Photo by Bernard Munyao.

Rivalry between Murang’a governor Mwangi wa Iria and Water Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu has emerged once again.

Over the weekend, the PS led a delegation from his ministry to commission several water projects in Gatanga Sub County, a move which Governor Wa Iria termed as politically instigated activities using government resources.

Irungu commissioned a borehole at Mithandukuini area, where he castigated the governor for his stand on objecting to the sinking of boreholes on claims that the water was not of good quality.

The PS said water from boreholes is clean and could be used for domestic purposes, telling those against the projects to leave out the national government’s initiative of giving people water.

His sentiments did not go well with supporters of governor Wa Iria who called a press briefing on Sunday to rebuke the PS for what they termed as engaging in 2022 politics using government projects.

A group of young people led by nominated MCA Stephen Chege told off the PS calling on him to resign as a government officer and engage fully in politics.

Water is devolved but the PS is fully involved in various projects aimed at increasing water connections in Murang’a County to more than 80 percent by 2022.

In the past, Wa Iria has been calling for people of Murang’a to be supplied with clean water from Ndakaini dam, the main water reservoir for Nairobi and its environs.

The governor has been claiming that considering the county hosts the biggest source of water to Nairobi, people of Murang’a should not be provided with salty water from boreholes whereas Nairobi residents enjoyed fresh clean water.

On Saturday, the PS said it was dishonest for Wa Iria to claim that water from boreholes was not safe for domestic use.

He said engineers from the Ministry of Water felt insulted when a leader castigated their efforts of sinking boreholes to give people water.

“It’s very belittling when a leader castigates work of engineers who use their geo-technical skills to search and sink water from underground. The programme of sinking more boreholes is on course and by next year, we will have done 30 boreholes,” said Irungu when he commissioned the borehole.

Supporters of Wa Iria read politics in Irungu’s frequent visit in Murang’a claiming he was politicizing water projects as he was eying the gubernatorial seat in 2022.

Wa Iria’s supporters on Monday clashed with those of Irungu, when the latter were planning to issue a press statement to counter sentiments from Wa Iria’s side.

Commotion emerged in a Murang’a hotel when the two groups accosted each other forcing supporters of Irungu to move to a different venue to issue their statement.