Leaders demand 30 percent of energy jobs for Maasai youth

Narok North MP Mr Moitalel ole Kenta addressing residents of Ntulele in Narok East constituency on June 17,2022.

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

A section of Maasai leaders in Narok want three energy-generation and transmission state corporations to give at least 30 percent of their jobs to locals.

The leaders claim the Maasai are getting a raw deal though they gave out their land for exploration.

Led by MPs Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok North) and Gideon Konchellah (Kilgoris) and MP aspirants Ms Lydia Ntimama (woman rep) Mr Alfred Keriolale (Narok East), they lamented that the community had been sidelined in top jobs at the three corporations.

The leaders want members of the community to be considered for either the CEO position or chairmanship of either of the three parastatals – Geothermal Development Company (GDC), KenGen and Ketraco.

"I want to tell President Uhuru Kenyatta's government and the incoming President that our sons and daughters deserve jobs in these companies. Our fathers gave out their land for geothermal exploration but we are nowhere in these companies’ management," Mr Kenta said.

His sentiments were echoed by Mr Konchellah, who is also a Senate aspirant. He pledged that if they are elected, they will bring in foreign investors to explore over 6,000 acres in Suswa with geothermal potential.

"Should we get investors, then the community will not only get jobs but we will also demand at least 30 percent ownership of the investment," Mr Konchellah said.

Mr Keriolale claimed the geothermal-rich areas of Kajiado, Narok and parts of Nakuru belong to the Maasai community and they deserve to be given priority in job opportunities.

Kilgoris MP Mr Gideon Konchellah addresses residents of Ntulele,Narok East constituency on June 17, 2022. The leaders called on GDC, Ketraco and KenGen companies to consider Maasai community in job opportunities

Photo credit: Robert Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

This comes after Mr Johnson Nchoe, who hails from the community, completed his term as managing director of GDC.

"We have suffered from pollution from these companies. We cannot graze our livestock in those lands yet we are still being sidelined in jobs in these companies," decried Mr Keriolale.

Ms Ntimama also demanded jobs for the community’s youth, saying locals are learned and competent to hold various positions.

GDC conducts its activities mainly in Olkaria, Naivasha.

The Olkaria plant started operating 1981 and more developments have taken place at the site over the decades.

In 2014, around 150 Maasai families were moved from their homes and resettled in a nearby area to make way for the Olkaria IV plant. The displacements were marred by controversy and fiercely opposed by the local community.

Kenya is one of the leading countries in the world for geothermal power. Some 25 per cent to 30 per cent of installed grid capacity comes from renewable energy, which uses naturally occurring steam to power turbines.

It is estimated that Kenya could hold as much as 10,000MW of geothermal potential, around three times the current installed capacity.

The energy is cheap, clean and far more reliable than hydropower – Kenya’s main source of power.

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