Here is RAILA ODINGA’s statement on UHURU/ RUTO’s secret project in Murang’a

... Makuyu, Ithanga, Kandara, Kambiti, Kakuzi and Kimoroi.

• People living on the rest of the Tana River basin were not contacted at all. The people in Garissa, Ukambani and the Tana River and Tana Delta regions rely on the Tana River as their sole source of water. A project like the Northern Collector Tunnel cannot be legitimately conceptualized, designed and commissioned without taking into consideration the views of the people along the Tana and considering the effect of the project on their lives.
• The project therefore goes against the Constitution of Kenya which states that public participation is one of the National Values and Principles of Leadership that must be complied with.

• It also goes against the provisions of the Environmental Management Co-ordination Act and the Environmental (Impact Assessment and Audit) Regulations that requires the conduct of proper public participation before any project is designed and commenced.

Jubilee has ignored the right to public participation of the people in the Tana River basin and continues to date to implement this project as a secret.

Jubilee is so secretive about this project that it does not appear anywhere in the administration’s list of achievements. 

The same Jubilee that has made it a common practice to commission projects that had already been commissioned by the Grand Coalition Government so at to look productive has chosen not to “launch” this project. 

Another concern is that this project was designed, commissioned and construction commenced before an Environmental Impact Assessment report was prepared and before a license was issued by the National Environment Management Authority.

The information we have shows that the project had been designed by end of the year 2013, the tender for a contractor was published in March 2014 and an agreement signed with the contractor on 1st September 2014. A payment of Kshs. 1,365,127,934.56 was also paid to the contractor in October.

But the terms of reference for the conduct of the Environmental Impact Assessment were not approved till July 2014 and the EIA report was not approved till November 2014. The License by NEMA was not issued until February 2015.

Jubilee conceptualized, commissioned and commenced construction of a project without establishing the impact of the project on the environment. This is unconstitutional, criminal, a blatant abuse of power and a grievous derogation of the rights of the people affected.

The assessment itself turned out to be a scandal. It turned out that when the assessment was being done, there was a shortage of critical important data without which a proper assessment cannot be conducted.

Some of that unavailable data is the hydrological mapping of the underground water system in Murang’a and how that system affects the larger Murang’a area and the rest of the Tana River basin.

The Murang’a County Assembly Environmental Committee is on record complaining about this issue and saying that “it is surprising that geotechnical investigation for a project located almost entirely underground has not been exhausted by the time the contract was awarded”.

It turns out that, in fact, no license has been obtained from the Water Resource Management Authority (WARMA) for this project to be commissioned.

The constructor of this project is therefore digging blindly into the mountain, boring tunnels that will likely have very adverse effect on the underground water system of the Tana River basin.

One of these effects is that it will lead to the drainage of underground streams and aquifers.
The Environmental Impact Assessment report recognized this danger and said:

“Tunneling activities may lead to alterations of underground drainage and fracture flow …. Studies have shown that tunnels can lead to drying up of springs and streams leading to severe socio-economic and ecological effects….”

Environmental experts say that such damage to the underground hydrology is irreversible.
This effect will be compounded by the fact that this project will lead to severe loss of water on the Tana River which will lead to drying up of both ground and underground rivers and streams in Garissa, Ukambani and Tana River Delta.

The effects will be so severe that the larger Murang’a, Garissa, Ukambani and the Tana River Delta region will be deserts within five years of this project.

Other expected results from the...

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