In a recent incident that captured public attention, the Governor of Nairobi, Johnson Sakaja, and his counterpart from Murang’a, Irungu Kang’ata, locked horns over the inspection of Ndakaini Dam. Sakaja’s unexpected visit to the dam, which is located in Murang’a, came without any representative from Murang’a County, stirring controversy. The Nairobi Governor also made visits to Ngethu Water Treatment Plant in Kiambu and Sasumu Dam in Nyandarua, stating his intentions were to inspect the water sources and treatment facilities that supply Nairobi.
Kang’ata took exception to Sakaja’s oversight of Murang’a resources, viewing it as an intrusion. He dramatically termed Sakaja’s actions as “trespass” and, in a striking public declaration, captioned images of Sakaja at the dam with “Wanted! Dead or alive.”
Significantly, the Ndakaini Dam plays a pivotal role in providing water to Nairobi. Producing approximately 430,000 cubic meters of water daily, it accounts for nearly 84% of Nairobi’s water supply. The dam’s management is a collaborative effort between the Murang’a County Government and the Athi Water Works Development Agency. But this partnership has had its tensions.
Earlier in March, Murang’a County issued a stark warning, hinting at a potential cessation of its water supply to Nairobi if the capital didn’t compensate for the water. Murang’a Senator, Joe Nyutu, highlighted the irony of the situation. While Nairobi benefited vastly from the dam, drawing a substantial amount of its water, the local residents of Murang’a were left grappling with scarcity. They often found themselves traveling great distances just to procure water, despite the dam sourcing its water from the Thika, Githika, and Kayuyu rivers, which flow through Murang’a and Kiambu Counties.
Nyutu emphasized the unfairness of the situation, lamenting the fact that while Murang’a provided water without any charges, Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company was turning a profit by selling it. He made it clear that this imbalance was not sustainable and called for a change in the existing arrangement.