Italian Investors, Ruto Team in Agreement Over Arror & Kimwarer Resumption

William Ruto
President William Ruto during the swearing in of the ODPP at Sate House on September 25, 2023.

The Kenyan Government and Italian players involved in the construction of the controversial Itare, Arror and Kimwarer dams on Sunday struck a deal to resume the projects the two parties reached a tentative agreement.

In a statement on Sunday, the Ministry of Water indicated that the Italians agreed to work with Kenya towards resuming the three projects as soon as possible.

The meeting, which took place in Rome, Italy, was attended by Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Kipronoh Ronoh who was in the company of Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua.

The two were accompanied by the Solicitor General Shadrack Mose.

Foreign Affiars CS Alfred Mutua (fourth left) and his team meet their Italian counterparts in Rome on Sunday.
Former Foreign Affairs CS Alfred Mutua (fourth left) and his team meet their Italian counterparts in Rome on Sunday.
Water Ministry

"PS Water and Sanitation Dr Kipronoh Ronoh held a negotiation meeting with the Italian govt in Rome to consider the resumption of work for Itare, Arror and Kimwarer dams," read the statement in part.

"The Italians agreed to work with the Kenya towards a lasting solution in order to resume work immediately."

Earlier, the Water PS confirmed that the teams, which held the meeting on Sunday, agreed to make way for contractors to return to the sites immediately.

“We agreed on how to address these hitches and most importantly have the contractors return to the site as soon as possible,” he stated.

The development follows a March 2023 meeting between President William Ruto and his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarela.

The duo noted that they had agreed to withdraw cases touching on the three dams paving way for the projects to proceed.

"The process of sorting the matters in court has already started in earnest," Ruto noted at the time.

"We have agreed to re-establish cooperation on the construction of Arror, Kimwarer and Itare dams and other water and sanitation projects which are critical to our agenda on food security, delivery of water and climate action."

The resumption of the three projects formed a foundation of the Head of State's manifesto in 2022 during the campaigns.

In September 2019, former President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the cancellation of the Kimwarer Dam project and immediate commencement of the implementation of the Arror Multipurpose Dam project with new design components and a fresh cost rationalisation plan.

This was after he received a report on the two dam projects from the technical committee he formed following the discovery of irregularities and improprieties surrounding the tender. 

Investigators ascertained that the Ksh28 billion Kimwarer Dam was found to have been overpriced and the project was neither technically nor financially viable.

The area where Arror Dam is to be constructed in Elgeyo Marakwet County.
The area where Arror Dam was to be constructed in Elgeyo Marakwet County.