What you need to know:
- Investigative agencies should move with speed and get to the bottom of the rot at this monopoly.
- Politicians and influential individuals have turned the firm into a cash cow.
The government’s decision to conduct direct supervision of Kenya Power is timely. However, it has to institute quick and drastic measures to return the company to normalcy. Investigative agencies should move with speed and get to the bottom of the rot at this monopoly that has been plagued by looting, wastage and mismanagement.
Last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered implementation of recommendations of a task force that investigated the firm’s operations. This week, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that security agencies had been directed to move in and start investigations at the corporation.
All these must yield tangible results. Kenya Power has fallen due to a combination of factors. First is direct thieving by employees working in cahoots with wheeler-dealers. Power supply infrastructure is porous and allows massive loss of electricity.
Second, politicians and influential individuals have turned the firm into a cash cow, where they secure dubious contracts and get paid huge sums of money for services never rendered.
Third, independent power producers (IPPs), which had come in as temporary suppliers to plug a deficit in the national grid, have milked the company dry through exorbitant claims. Worse still, some IPPs never produce but obtain power through questionable deals, which they sell to Kenya Power for a fortune. The cost of electricity has risen astronomically, yet service is poor. Power outages have become the norm across the country.
This is a call for the government to deal ruthlessly with the looters that have turned Kenya Power into a shell. Individuals who looted the company must be arrested and prosecuted, while dubious and punitive contracts with IPPs and other suppliers should be cancelled.