Community in conflict with SGR staff over river water

Community in conflict with SGR staff over river water

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Mwache River in Kwale county. PHOTO: LAWRENCE SITA

Kwale, KENYA: A community group by the name Mwachiga has stopped China Road and Bridges Company working on SGR project from fetching water from river Mwache , claiming depletion of the resource.

Lead by their chairperson Samuel Chondo Baya the community claimed that Mwache river water is running dry due to the long drought hence allowing usage of the water in huge quantity is not good for the resource.

Mr. Chondo also claimed that the water is being used by more than five villages which include Kasemeni village, Mwatate village, Chigato village Bokole among others in Kwale County.

Early last week the community stopped some staff from the company who were allegedly fetching water from the river with a buzzer without informing members of the community and the registered group supervising the water resource.

The community through their chairman Mr. Chondo, says the water is finished and they depend on it for various uses as a community.

He said livestock use the water for drinking and it will be unfair to let SGR use up the water since  there is aquatic life in it.

The community is blaming their area chief  for  allowing SGR to use the resource without informing them.

The area chief defended himself in a meeting with the community and some SGR staff claiming that he gave a permit to the SGR company to fetch Mwache river water after an agreement with them of renovating Mwache ECD school, with a payment of 3000 shillings per month.

Benson Kalimbo the area chief apologized to the community and ordered the SGR to stop fetching the water and find other water source.

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Residents of Mwatate, Bokole, Kasemeni, Fulugani and Mwamdudu have also been saying dust that is caused by the construction of the standard gauge railway SGR and the movement of heavy marchinery in ther area is causing alot of problems for them.