Kitui County Government on the 15th January 2018 banned sand harvesting and charcoal burning in the county. The reopening of some parts of the county for sand harvesting has resulted in several questions by stakeholders, residents, and some leaders such as Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna.
The acting Environment CECM Patrick Musau alias Kuvasila speaking at a local radio station revealed that the Kitui County cabinet last year decided to reopen parts of the County for sand harvesting in Kiromboko and Athi.
He confirmed that the Kitui County Government in partnership with National Government through TARDA (Tana And Athi Rivers Development Authority) came up with a resolution to desilt Kiambere Dam which supplies more than 75 percent of electricity to Kitui county.
“We received a letter from TARDA under the National Government requesting us to assist them desilt Kiambere dam. We conducted public participation with locals and they supported the harvesting. The sand in that area can be harvested for over 100 years,” he added.
Job creation for locals
The Environment CECM noted that the desilting has created jobs for the youths by loading trucks noting that many youths who used to earn a living from loading were going back to Embu and risking their lives.
“We have CBOs with more than 5,000 people in Kiomo/Kyethani ward, and they are earning to feed their families. As a county, we are also getting revenue income which helps the Governor purchase medicines for our hospitals among others,” Kuvasila added.
Kuvasila added that everybody has the right to harvest the sand at the working site but after following the procedure in sand harvesting act and getting approval from his Department, dismissing the allegations that there is corruption ongoing to favour people from Mwingi west only.
The CECM said that when the transporter is vetted, Environmental Impact Assessment is done and trucks registered, they then pay 7500 which is shared among CBO’s, TARDA and the County dismissing allegations by the Mwingi West MP that the loaders earn 200.
Sand Harvesting and Politics
Kuvasila accused Mwingi West MP Charles Nguna of politicking with the Sand harvesting saying he should keep off from interfering with responsibilities of a County Government as the function is devolved to the Counties.
Kuvasila contested for the Mwingi West parliamentary seat in 2017 with Charles Nguna and lost to him. He asked the MP to respect the County Government and its functions and avoid politics.
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