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This was bound to get pretty ugly and is now developing into a potentially deadly conflict that must be resolved to defuse the rising tension.

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has dared his Murang’a counterpart, Mr Mwangi wa Iria, to make good his threat to shutdown water supply to the national capital in his somewhat obstinate push for a share of revenue from this resource.

Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has been drawn into the controversy, and he is not mincing his words in denouncing Governor Wa Iria’s claim.

According to the governor, Murang’a owns the water that is supplied to Nairobi and Kiambu and must, therefore, get a part of the revenue, a position that Mr Chelugui has flatly rejected as not just wrong, but also illegal.

For his part, Governor Sonko has made it known that the county holds the title deed to Ndakaini Dam in Murang’a and will not entertain attempts to interfere with its ownership.


There is a need for cool heads here. And we could not agree more with Mr Chelugui’s position that water is a natural transboundary resource no county can claim to own.

It’s also a fact that the water the Murang’a leadership is laying claim to is not made there; it comes from high up in the Aberdare Ranges and Mt Kenya on its way elsewhere and remains a shared resource to which every Kenyan has a right.

And although Nairobi is a county, it’s also the seat of the national government and home to citizens from all the counties. It cannot, therefore, be denied access to a national resource.

It’s all very good for Murang’a and other counties to seek to develop natural resources within their areas, but they must not overstep their mandate and stir up needless conflicts.

Water and other natural resources must be tapped for national development and prosperity.