What you need to know:
- Mr Nadome said a recent report by the State Corporations Advisory Committee indicated that Kenya Power needs to hire another 4,000 workers if it wants to offer better services.
The head of a workers’ union has faulted Kenya Power’s top managers for frequent power outages and delays in connecting customers to electricity.
Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers’ Union secretary-general Ernest Nadome on Friday claimed understaffing, infighting among top brass in the energy sector and long bureaucratic processes are crippling the company.
“We know many Kenyans applied for electricity over five years ago but have not been connected,” he said.
“This is due to the long bureaucratic process at Kenya Power. The company has not lived up to the expectations of customers.”
Kenya Power top management, the power distributor’s board of directors and Ministry of Energy officials, he said, have been reading from different scripts.
He said frequent changes in the corner office at Kenya Power have also paralysed services.
“In the past 10 years Kenya Power has had eight MDs. Each MD comes with his organisational structure.
He blamed understaffing and shoddy work by firms owned by top government officials and lawmakers for the frequent power outages and delays in fixing breakdowns.
“The Kenya Power board of directors does not report directly to the ministry but to senior people at Harambee House. This has created a lot of problems at Kenya Power. Nothing is moving,” he said.
Mr Nadome was speaking in Nairobi during a meeting of leaders of unions affiliated to Public Services International, including the Union of Kenya Civil Servants and Kenya County Government Workers Union.
They discussed the need to promote transparency and decent work in supply chains in electricity, water and waste services.
Mr Nadome said a recent report by the State Corporations Advisory Committee indicated that Kenya Power needs to hire another 4,000 workers if it wants to offer better services.
“Understaffing is a serious problem with Kenya Power. This problem is compounded by the issue of casualisation. It is unfortunate that 30 per cent of Kenya Power workers are on contract or casuals,” he said.
He vowed to fight any attempts to lay off Kenya Power employees based on a restructuring recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In February, IMF agreed to give Kenya $2.4 billion (Sh256.3 billion in a three-year financing programme aimed at boosting the public purse amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenya received the first tranche of $314 million (Sh34.45 billion) in April.
Under the financing deal, Kenya is required to implement a raft of painful reforms, including removing tax relief and tax exemptions on some consumer goods, restructuring loss-making parastatals and tackling its rising debt obligations.
The parastatals targeted for changes include Kenya Airways, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Railways Corporation, Kenya Power and Kenya Ports Authority.
The others are the three largest public universities – Nairobi, Kenyatta and Moi.
“Such restructuring processes usually come with retrenching of workers. We will not allow the workers at Kenya Power to lose their jobs because the company is already understaffed,” Mr Nadome said.
“Nowadays it is common to see a Kenya Power lorry with only two people, a driver and team leader with no workers behind due to understaffing. This is the reality on the ground.”
Meanwhile, Kenya County Government Workers Union secretary-general Roba Duba has said his union will sue to block any attempt by counties to privatise dumpsites, saying such a move would render garbage collectors jobless.