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Elgeyo Marakwet governor Wesley Rotich hits at Eldowas in employment row

A row is brewing between Elgeyo Marakwet county and water firm- Eldowas over the sacking of casual workers and a director at the firm.

Elgeyo Marakwet County governor Wesley Rotich demanded reinstatement of all fired staff after locals protested the move.

The water firm sources its water from Chebara Dam in Moiben Kuserwo Ward, Marakwet West Sub-County in Elgeyo Marakwet County and serves the residents of Eldoret town and its environs.

Governor Rotich noted the locals have protected the water sources and it was unfair for the water firm to dismiss staff from his county.

“For several years, residents of Chebara, especially those who live upstream have had a persistent concern over access to water from the dam for their use. These residents have scaled down operations in their farms in order to protect the dam from erosion and other human activities thereby reducing their farm earnings,” noted Mr Rotich.

He said that it was unbearable to send home staff who have been feeding their families through earnings from the utility company at this time of the year when the economy is down.

“The leadership of Eldowas may not understand how the earnings they may perceive as ‘too little’ matter to our people. They have families to feed, bills to pay and terminating their earnings abruptly is not only unjustified but inhuman,” stated the county boss.

He noted that he had consulted with Uasin Gishu County Jonathan Bii and agreed to have a round table discussion between Eldowas and leadership from both Counties to enable amicable relations.

He said that the concerns raised by the residents of Chebara and its environs should be heard and addressed.

“The dam is almost three decades old now and being a shared resource, residents of Chebara deserve to be commended for their conservation efforts which has seen the continued and undisturbed supply of water in Eldoret town and its environs,” said Mr Rotich.

Eldowas managing director Peter Biwott in a rejoinder blamed some local leaders for playing politics with the issue.

“The issues raised are politically instigated because we have been working cordially with the local people. We have employed a lot of people from the ward and we distributed water to the people,” said Mr Biwott.

He noted that they are in the process of coming up with their budget, noting that in the months of June and July they record low work.

He also defended the decision to fire the senior directors, noting that it was in line with the Senate recommendations.

“We appeared before the Senate to come up with recommendations. The report recommended removal of directors among other reforms to enhance efficiency of the firm,” said Mr Biwott, adding that”we employ permanent and casuals and in the two months and right now, we are undertaking few projects that is why some of the casuals were affected.”

Mr Biwott explained that they are working with different partners such as The Nature Conservancy to promote conservation of the water catchment areas.

At the same time, Governor Rotich appealed to residents in Chebara and Marakwet West-Sub county to exercise restraint over this matter.

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