Garissa county’s Masalani residents have asked the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission EACC to investigate water officials selling water at an exorbitant price to drought hit residents.
They wondered why they are required to pay an amount of Sh7000 -Sh12000 for the service however the officials defended the payment saying the money is meant to cater for fuel.
Mohamud Hassan, a resident, called on the anti-graft body to intervene and probe what he called widespread fraud amongst the officials despite acute water shortage in town.
He said water pans have dried up in rural areas since drought is fast escalating and residents depend on county government water bowsers which he said is too expensive for locals.
“If the vehicle belongs to the government and the driver is being paid we believe there is also provision of fuel, it’s unfortunate that the officials are taking advantage of the current situation instead of working towards finding solutions to the water problem,” he said.
Halima Jele, another resident said women and girls are mostly affected by the shortage since they are forced to trek for kilometers in search of water.
She asked the county government to find a permanent solution to perennial water shortage, adding that the water tanks are too expensive to pastoralists who are struggling with severe drought.
“We cannot afford water bowsers; sometimes we are forced to walk to the river in search of water,” she said.
Schools have also been affected by lack of water with head teachers like residents paying for water officials to have the important commodity at their respective institutions.
“I have gone to every office including senior most county water officials but nothing has been forthcoming, these people need to be investigated, the government water tank is becoming a cash cow for the officials,” claimed a school head teacher who declined to be identified for fear of victimization by the officials.
He claimed the monies are normally paid to the drivers without any documentations or receipts noting this needs immediate investigations.
Defending the water department of any wrongdoing Mr Sadam Garat who is in-charge of water in Masalani said the department doesn’t have any provision of fuel for water tanks.
“We understand the situation our people are going through, the money they are paying is to cater for fuel because the department doesn’t cater for that,” he said.