Employees of multibillion Muruny-Siyoi Water Project demand unpaid salaries

Employees at the multi-billion Muruny – Siyoi water project in West Pokot County have not been paid for one and a half years now.

The workers under Toddy civil engineering Company who are up in arms say their pending arrears have accumulated to KES 10. 5 million.

The ten billion shillings water project launched in 2015 by former President Uhuru Kenyatta and President William Ruto then as Deputy President has taken long overdue to be completed.

Carrying twigs and placards while singing songs at the Muruny –Siyoi project lot 2 in the Karas area, the employees noted that they suspect something fishy going on saying that the contractor might have paid his dues but has not paid them.

They cited corruption in the move adding that the National health insurance Fund [[NHIF] funds are being paid but not their salaries.

“I was employed in 2015 up to now. In 2022, the payment problem started and our leaders are not telling us the truth. In December, they told us they will pay us for three months but they failed. I’m unable to pay school fees for my kids and feed them,” said Samuel Kipyegon, a security officer.

They are now calling on area leaders to intervene in the matter.

“We don’t pay NHIF as it is active and there is no salary,” he said.

They now want Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli to intervene in the matter and hence want whoever is keeping their salaries to release them.

“We have gone up to the labour ministry with little help. The project is ongoing because we have never been told that it stalled. I wanted to resign but they refused saying that I must wait till the project comes to an end,” he said.

Hosea Kibet an inspector at Muruny water project lot 2 who has not been paid for nine months said there is neither a clear report nor a proper explanation concerning the lack of payment.

“It has become like the Shakahola thing where we are denied food till the last minute to die. In 2022 we were only paid for 3 months. The project is almost 95 percent complete yet we are the ones who worked. We are being cheated left-right,” he said.

Norah Sikuku Makumbi, an office attendant who started the job in 2015 says that she has not received a salary for 6 months.

“We need to know the truth if the money will come or not,” she said.

Amos Kalyakamar, a cleaner, called on President William Ruto to intervene in the matter.

“Things were okay when the current Trans-Nzoia Governor George Natembeya was the Rift Valley regional commissioner,” he said.

However, when contacted, a resident Engineer for the project William Kenyatta wondered why the workers went to complain to the media instead of the labour office.

“Find another thing to do, did they demonstrate it to you? You seem to be an idle man. That is a Government project” he said.

Muruny –Siyoi water project situated at Kapsait in Pokot South Sub County has been having issues after it stalled.

The multi-purpose water supply project is a dam meant to supply water for irrigation, livestock and domestic use.
The project undertaken by the national government through the Ministry of Water and Irrigation would also open up the region that had lagged behind in development following many years of marginalization.

The project is the biggest water project in the North Rift region and its water from the Muruny Permanent River will be served adequately in three constituencies of Pokot South, Kapenguria and Sigor.

The project is expected to have a proposed dam with a capacity of 9 million litres of water and will serve the whole county to help in the water supply of clean tapped water.

The project is anticipated to solve problems of water scarcity and sanitation problems among residents in the County.

If completed, more than 450, 000 people in the County will benefit from clean water after the completion of the Muruny-Siyoi water dam and supply Project which is under construction.

The water project is anticipated to produce 38,000 cubic meters of water per day where residents will have access to clean water.

During his visit in West Pokot County a month ago, President William Ruto asked to be given one year to complete the project.

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