By KK Online News reporter
In 2015, Muranga Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco) approached Muranga County Government through the County Executive Member for Transport and Infrastructure Amos Njoroge in bid to construct a sewer line to pass through Muranga High School.
The sewer was constructed at a cost of Sh850,000 with the main aim of serving the school and the neighbouring community taking the affluent to Karii sewerage treatment plant.
Letters to the water firm from Muranga High School Principal Willy Kuria shows that two years later, the school decided to convert their waste to energy by constructing a bio digester hence writing to Muwasco to stop charging them the sewer fees.
“The Board of Management wishes to inform you that following successful completion of a school bio digester project in school, both the school and the staff quarter houses are no longer connected to your sewer line effective from April 1 2020,” a letter addressed to the water from signed by Mr Kuria read in part.
The Principal, by the use of word “your sewer line” confirmed that the sewer belonged to Muwasco and this can be attested by letters from the water firm to Muranga County Government requesting funds to construct the line.
“As per our telephone conversation discussion on July 15, 2014, on sewer connection to Muranga High School, we have done a survey of the area and the quantities and amount required id as per the attached bill of quantity where the total remains Sh783,0000..” a letter to CEC Amos Njoroge from the Muwasco’s Managing Director read in part.
After the back and forth from the two institutions, it appears that the School resulted to use of gimmicks, unorthodox means to subvert wheels of justice and taking the law into their own hands.
Efforts by the Ministry of Education through the County Director of Education Ann Kiiru to using alternative dispute resolution mechanism backfired after the School went to court even before solving the differences amicably.
On August 7,2020, Ms Kiiru wrote to Muranga Water and Sanitation inviting them for consultative forum at Muranga High School.
“While the school complains of illegal sewer connection, Muwasco complains of of malicious damage of a public sewerage line passing through the school. After consultations with the County Commissioner, it has been agreed that the parties come together for amicable solution,” the letter reads in part.
But even before settling the matter, the school filed their petition in court bringing the proposal by the Principal’s boss on alternative dispute resolution mechanism in limbo.
Muranga Lands and Environment Court Judge Grace Kemei dismissed the petition terming it as a ‘mere contractual dispute which has been given a constitutional facemask’ advising the School to file the petition at the Water Tribunal.
The ruling was delivered on September 17 but four days later, the School Management was on media boasting how they destroyed the sewer line passing through the school saying they could not allow ‘our bio digester to be contaminated with soaps other wastes from the neugboruing community’.
Parents Association Chairperson Captain Amos Njoroge proudly admitted that they destroyed the sewer line since the main sewer carrying the human waste from the neighbouring community interfered with their bio digester.
He defended their actions of blocking the main sewer by calling Muwasco company ‘thugs’.
He said as the chairperson for the association he could not ‘sit pretty and allow Muwasco trespass and connect their sewer pipes illegally through the school.
Asked by journalists why then the management decided to take law into their own hands to block the sewer line, Captain Murigi said “They are thugs, they passed their sewer line through the school and we could not allow that to happen”.
On September 29, Muranga County Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) summoned the chairperson of the board and the Principal over the malicious damage to property suit.
“This office is investigating into an alleged case of malicious damage to property C/SEC339 (1) of the penal code. You and the Board chairperson are required to report to Deputy Sub-County Criminal Investigations Officer without fail,’ the letter read in part
But even as the DCI were through with their investigations, the school went back to Muranga Lands and Environment court on October 7 and filed an appeal ELC 29/2020 pleading with the court to hear their first suit on grounds that the Water Tribunal which the court cited as the best avenue to hear the case was not properly constituted.
In the petition, they sought temporary injunction restraining Muwasco from trespassing to School in an attempt to reconnect their sewer line on grounds that the Water Tribunal does not have a chairperson and therefore not properly constituted to hear their matter.
They also accused the water firm of harassing and threatening the staff of the school and the plaintiffs through the police..
However, the Judge refused to certify the matter as urgent as pleaded by the school through its Parents and Teachers Association chairperson Amos Kuria Njoroge and two others and instead slated the interpartes hearing on October 12