Construction of US $3m Miwongoni River Dam in Machakos County, Kenya is set to resume. This is after the Environment and Lands Court set aside an order that stopped the project in July last year.
According to Justice Oscar Angote the injunctive order issued against the Athi Water Services Board was made out of misrepresentation of facts by a group of more than 200 residents affected by the project.
The Athi Water Services Board appointed Jiangxi Water and Hydropower Construction Company Limited to undertake the project and the contractor went on site to begin work. However, the area residents claimed interest in the land as Project Affected Persons who have homes and permanent amenities on the land and, as such, demanded compensation.
They moved to court seeking orders and a declaration that they are entitled to exclusive and unimpeded right of possession and occupation of the suit property. They also wanted an order stopping government from occupying the land.
Before the case could be heard, both sides recorded an agreement indicating the project work should stop until the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) Review Report is prepared and presented to the parties.
But the water development agency returned to court a year later, in June 2020, seeking to have the consent order set aside on grounds that the plaintiffs were motivated by malice and mischief in entering into the agreement.
Miwongoni River Dam
The development project, funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) which will have a storage capacity of 1.6m3, is aimed at assisting the people of Machakos and surrounding areas in eradication of perennial water shortages.
Apart from the construction of the 15m High Earth Fill Miwongoni dam, Athi Water also intends to construct the New Miwongoni Treatment Works with a capacity of 10,000m3/d which is about 300m to the southwest of the existing Maruba Dam Treatment Works including pumps, staff houses, laboratory and administrative building. The treatment plant will have a new storage tank at Katelembo with 5,000m3 capacity, 5km long pipe and 400mm diameter.