Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company workers threaten to cut water supply amidst allegations of company privatization

Workers of Nairobi water and sewerage company demonistrate outside their offices in industrial area,they where demonistrating on the privatization of the company and poor working condition of the workers on 3/7/17-BEVERLYNE MUSILI

The water crisis in the city is likely to get worse if Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company workers make good their threat to cut supply.

The Kenya Local Government Workers Union yesterday threatened to disconnect water supply in three days because of concerns that the firm is to be sold.

The union claimed there is a memorandum of understanding dated June 2, 2017, between Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company (NWSC) and SUEZ Company from France to sell the company.

According to photocopies of documents whose dates, signatures, and other vital information have been blacked out and whose authenticity could not be verified, a local private company is to be responsible for implementing specific services and investments.

“The targeted services, which include network modelling, real-time monitoring, leak detection, asset management, customer management, meter management, call centre, customer relations, training and knowledge sharing, and quality assurance are basically all functions of NWSC,” said the union’s secretary-general, Matilda Kimetto.

No such deal

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However, the city county government and the NWSC board have denied that such an agreement exists and that there was any intention to sell the company. The county executive director for water and environment, Peter Kimori, said NWSC was a public company and could not be privatised.

“There is nothing like that. I have spoken with the NWSC board members and I have information in writing from the chairperson confirming that no privatisation arrangements have been discussed,” said Kimori.

Kimori also said he had declined to discuss the matter with the union, claiming  there was a court injunction against the election of its officials.

Reason for demos

An article in the MoU states that “during the validity of the document, none of the parties shall, without the prior consent of the other, party directly or indirectly enter into arrangement or provide information or assistance or act in any way which would enable any third party to compete against the project or enter into any arrangement with a view to cooperate with a third party on the project or a similar matter.”

The board chairman, Raphael Nzomo, said the picketing of the staff was as a result of ‘enforced’ company regulations and speaking out against the ‘underperformers’.

“All these is as a result of the board failing to renew the contract of three directors. They were supposed to be performing, but we could not see results. There are numerous complaints about wrong meter readings and poor client relations,” said Nzomo.

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Documents seen by Metropolitan showed a steady rise in performance of the company since 2011, with the monthly revenue rising from Sh150 million to Sh800 million. Metre readings have increased from 10 per cent to 85 per cent.

The board chairman blamed the unrest on phobia for change and wanting to stick to comfort zones despite the need for new blood in the union.

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