President Kenyatta in Ukambani region for a scaled-down development tour [PHOTOS]
President Uhuru Kenyatta finally toured the Ukambani region Friday to inspect the ongoing construction of Thwake dam and Konza Technopolis.
The Thwake Multipurpose dam is being built by China Gezhouba Group Company, (CGGC) and is jointly funded by the Government of Kenya and the African Development Bank (AfBD).
It is integral to the plan for Konza Technopolis City, which the government approved as a development project in 2008 under for President Mwai Kibaki.
Upon completion, the dam will ultimately irrigate 40,000 hectares (approx. 100,000 acres) of land and will generate 20 Mega Watts of electricity.
It will provide the water for hydropower generation for Konza, as well as its irrigation needs. The project will also benefit the nearby counties of Kitui, Makueni and Machakos.
CGGC is also working on a project will that will improve water supply and sanitation services for Nairobi.
“Once completed, it will provide a clear water resource to Nairobi. The main tunnel of the project is 11.7 kilometers long and 3 meters in diameter,” said Xiong Wentao, CGGC’s project manager for the dam.
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Construction of the Ksh.82 billion dam, is on the borders of Kitui and Makueni, and the contractor is under pressure to recover the time lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Currently, 1,161 local people are employed directly in the dam construction project.
On the other hand, the ongoing Konza project has already benefited more than 2,500 Kenyans in the region.
Uhuru’s scaled-down visit comes four days after he cancelled his planned major tour of the region over fears the visit may trigger a spread of COVID-19.
“In view of the foregoing and cognisance of the directives issued as part of Public Order No. 4 of 2021 on COVID-19 barring ‘super-spreader’ events being held within Kenya for the reason that they imperil the public health and exacerbate the COVID-19 situation in our country, the meeting resolved to scale down the planned presidential visit to the region,” read a stamen from the State House.
On Friday, however, the President was in company of Ukambani leaders who included among them; Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu, Kivutha Kibwana of Makueni, Machakos Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr. and Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka.
Political pundits opined that the tour cancellation had been triggered by the political supremacy in the region, pitting the former Vice President, Musyoka and the three governors.