Published: Monday 31 July 2000

At least 21 million citizens of Nairobi are facing acute water shortage. Citizens allege that mismanagement, corruption and lack of preparedness on the part the government officials have led to the present state of affairs. The government on the other hand blames drought of the past three years. Water scarcity has made matters worse for the citizens who are already confronted with a number of problems including 18-hour power cuts four days every week.

Reports of water theft have become common. Officials of Ngong racecourse, fed up with hundreds of people trying to steal water from their borehole, have laid a pipe outside the fence and attached a tap to it.

Being close to the residence of President Daniel arap Moi, the racecourse has ample supply of water and electricity. "We kept disturbing the club authorities, so they decided to let us have their water," said Naomi Nyambae Kamunyu, an elderly woman who has taken charge of the water point to ensure that there are no fights.

Some car washers point out that they are bribing employees of the City Council for illegal supply of water. The Kenyan economy's sluggish growth for the past many years is expected to slip further due to the combined effect of water and power shortage.

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