President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday, 18th October, inspected the ongoing construction of the Ksh8.5 billion Thiba Dam as well as the Ksh2.6 billion Mwea Irrigation Scheme expansion project in Kirinyaga County.
The President, who was accompanied by Kirinyaga leaders led by Governor Anne Waiguru and County MP Wangui Ngirici as well as Water Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, began his tour at the 15 million cubic metre water capacity Thiba Dam in Gichugu constituency.
Speaking at the dam, whose construction will be completed by the end of the year, the President announced plans to construct a hospital in the area and relocate a school whose operations have been hampered by the mega project.
He said Thiba Dam would transform rice farming by enabling farmers to multiply production besides providing adequate clean water for domestic and agricultural use in Kirinyaga and neighbouring counties.
“When this dam is completed, it will enable the residents to have enough water for irrigation not once a year but continuously, enabling rice farmers in Mwea to double their production,” the President said.
On politics, the President cautioned locals to be wary of deceitful and self-seeking politicians out to divide wananchi for selfish gains.
The President said he had fulfilled his pre-election promise of delivering Thiba Dam and related Irrigation infrastructure, among other pledges such as key roads and electricity connection.
“Some of you tend to forget what you had requested. You can see what the government has done. I had promised to fulfil my pledges and as you can see work is ongoing. Don’t be deceived by few misguided individuals. My government is action-oriented and we don’t waste time with empty talk,” President Kenyatta said.
On his way to and from Thiba Dam, the President made stopovers in Karatina, Kagumo, and Kutus towns to acknowledge greetings from thousands of Nyeri and Kirinyaga residents, who lined the roads.
From Thiba Dam, the Head of State drove through Kutus Town to Mutithi in Mwea constituency where the government is implementing the Mwea Irrigation Scheme expansion project. This is a Ksh2.6 billion initiative that seeks to raise the area under rice cultivation from the current 10,000 acres to 35,000 acres by February next year.
The project, which involves the construction of a 2.4km link canal to transfer water from Thiba Dam, 47km of irrigation and drainage canals, and the laying of Kathiga Bridge, is 71 per cent complete.
When ready, the expansive irrigation project will increase rice production in Mwea from 114,000MT to 200,000MT annually, creating 50,000 new jobs.
The President said the various infrastructure projects being undertaken throughout the country would be the foundation of a better Kenya.
“Let us walk and work together as Kenyans. What we are doing now is laying a strong foundation for a better tomorrow. Do not be deceived by anyone that they are able to single-headedly change the lives of Kenyans,” he cautioned.