Four years after being halted, work on the Kerio dams, consisting of the Arror and Kimwarer dams, is set to resume. This comes after the cabinet approved Sh63 billion for the project’s implementation.
Prior to this, President William Ruto met with Sergio Mattarella, his Italian counterpart, in Nairobi. The president noted that Kenya and Italy reached an agreement to withdraw court cases related to the botched dams project.
In 2019, investigations were carried out and a scandal in which billions were paid to an Italian company for work that was never done was discovered. As a result, Arror and Kimwarer dam projects were stopped by former President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The contractors were driven off the sites and the dispute was taken to arbitration in London. The government then agreed to resolve the case and paid Sh10 billion out of fear of paying a penalty of Sh80 billion for breaching the contract prematurely.
Ruto noted that the project’s funding would be restructured and work would resume in the coming months.
Construction of US $630m Kerio dams in Kenya set to begin
Kenya is set to commence construction of US $630m Kerio dams in Elgeyo-Marakwet County in the Great Rift Valley, as a result of the start of compensation of over 800 families to be displaced by the project by the National Land Commission (NLC).
NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri confirmed the reports and said his team is on a two-week tour of the Arror and Kimwarer dam sites to distribute and sensitize locals and the gazetted families on the acquisition of land and resettlement of the displaced families.
Kerio dams project
The multi-purpose dams project consists of; the Arror dam which will cost US $385m and will be established on river Arror and the US $280m Kimwarer dam on river Kimwarer in Marakwet West and Keiyo South sub-counties respectively.
The dams which will be constructed on a 6, 0000 acres piece of land, will be acquired from the local community at a cost of US $63m to cater for their land compensation and resettlement of the displaced locals.
Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) managing director Mr. David Kimosop said that more than 30 consultants including engineers, designers, and planners are already on the ground and the construction process is to last shorter than anticipated. The engineers are already carrying out mapping and evaluation of the projects which will facilitate piping for the hydroelectricity and irrigation project.
“These two projects are key to unlocking the huge potential of the Kerio Valley region. We will ensure that this exercise is conducted in an accountable and transparent manner devoid of corruption and other malpractices. We shall compensate the families using international standards and any person who surrendered his or her parcel of land will benefit from the resettlement program,” assured Mr. Kimosop.
KVDA in partnership with CMC di Ravena and Itenera of Italy financed by the Italian government plans to implement the multi-purpose project to generate 60MW of electricity to the national grid and enhance irrigated agriculture on over 20,000 acres.