Arror dam survey halted after attack on team

The surveyors belonging to The Golden Associates and contracted by financing institutions to carry out an assessment of the project, were cut with machetes on their heads and were treated at Kapsowar Mission Hospital. Rift Valley Regional Co-ordinator Mwongo Chimwanga yesterday said one person had been arrested in connection with the attack.Deputy President William Ruto has warned those opposed to the construction of the dam, terming them “enemies of development”.

Devolution secretary Eugene Wamalwa (left) and Elgeyo-Marakwet governor Alex Tolgos distribute grains to families at Arror last month. Mr Wamalwa called for speeding up of Arror Dam construction. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG

The row surrounding the planned construction of the Sh35 billion Arror dam in Elgeyo Marakwet County is far from over after three surveyors were attacked by irate residents on Saturday. The surveyors belonging to The Golden Associates and contracted by financing institutions to carry out an assessment of the project, were cut with machetes on their heads and were treated at Kapsowar Mission Hospital.Rift Valley Regional Co-ordinator Mwongo Chimwanga yesterday said one person had been arrested in connection with the attack.“We are aware that some locals are opposed to the project. We have been, in collaboration with other government agencies trying to resolve the issue,” the administrator told the Business Daily on phone.

The team carrying out assessment of the irrigation and power project has since halted its operations due to safety fears and demanded better security.“We have no option but to suspended the assessment process after our   personnel were attacked and their vehicles pelted with stones by irate youth who are opposed to the project,” said Roberto Mezzalama, the team leader.“The violence is not only a threat to us but other teams who will be involved in the implementation of the project and the safety of other Kenyans,” said Dr David de Waal, another member of the delegation. Deputy President William Ruto has warned those opposed to the construction of the dam, terming them “enemies of development”.“This is a noble project which will transform this region in terms of food security through irrigation, among other benefits. We should not oppose everything,” said the DP who spoke on Sunday during an interdenominational church fundraising at Kapsowar.The Arror dam is to be built together with a similar one in Kimwarer area in Keiyo South, which will cost Sh28 billion.The Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA), through a joint venture between CMC di Ravena and Itenera of Italy with a loan from the Italian government, plans to implement the multi-purpose project to generate 60 megawatts of electricity to the national grid and enhance irrigated agriculture. “Residents opposed to the project should use the right channels in resolving disputes instead of resorting to acts of violence and lawlessness,” said David Kimosop, the KVDA managing director from the US where he is on an official visit.

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