KSh.76million Lake Victoria hyacinth fighting machine fails to live up to expectations

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Water hyacinth at Lake Victoria


By Edna Mwende

The difficulty by the Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko and the Lake Victoria Environment Management Project (LVEMP) project manager Fransisca Owuor to explain why a dredging machine acquired in 2016 is not in use has brought the LVEMP project under sharp scrutiny.

According to a news report by Business Daily the two appeared before the National Assembly committee on Regional Integration to explain why the dredging machine, which cost Ksh. 76 million, was acquired for the LVEMP to get rid of the invasive water hyacinth in Lake Victoria knowing full well it did not have the right specifications to deal with the weed.

The news report also pointed out that the LVEMP has been unable to deal with the disturbing weed for about 21 years yet it has been receiving funds from the World Bank even as it emerged that payments of up to 90 percent of the total cost for the dredging machine were made to United Kingdom (UK) based Unit Export Limited, which supplied the machine even before it was certified fit for use.

The Business Daily reported that according to Mr. Tobiko, the supplier had accepted there were flaws but made a turnaround after being asked to take corrective measures so that the machine can be put to intended use.

The government has therefore been forced to acquire another dredging vessel from a Ugandan firm, Mango Tree Group, which was unveiled by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Opposition leader Raila early this year.

In the meantime, the World Bank has suspended all projects on the lake basin region for stock taking on the return on investments even as it emerged as reported by the local daily that the LVEMP has also received over Ksh4 billion from the World Bank for tree planting among other projects.

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