Uhuru Kenyatta bans scrap metal trade

Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the National Police College-Kiganjo in Nyeri County on January 20, 2022.


Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

President Uhuru Kenyatta has banned the sale of scrap metals in a bid to curb vandalism of critical installations in Kenya.

The Head of State announced the moratorium on Thursday, just a day after nine senior Kenya Power officers were detained over alleged sabotage that caused a nationwide power outage on January 11.

He was speaking at the National Police College Main Campus in Kiganjo, Nyeri County, when he appeared to link the alleged sabotage to illicit scrap metal dealing that target critical infrastructure across the country.

“We have seen vandalism of different sign boards and towers of our power transmission lines. We have also seen cases of sabotage as was the case in Naivasha where people unbolted some of our power transmission lines and masts to create chaos and havoc,” Mr Kenyatta said.

The President said unscrupulous dealers were targeting key infrastructural installations for metals.

Stern warning

“As of today we will have put a moratorium on export, buying and selling of any scrap material until we have put in place proper guidelines that will ensure that the material is not coming from the people’s hard earned investments,” he said.

The President termed the vandalism of critical installations as economic sabotage.  

“These are acts of economic sabotage which fall under treasonable acts and the law is very clear on how we deal with individuals who commit treasonable acts,” he said.

He has since ordered the National Police Service to begin a crackdown on illegal scrap metal dealings in the country.

This comes against the backdrop of an ongoing investigation into internal sabotage by Kenya Power staff following the January 11 nationwide outage.

Police believe the nine Kenya Power staff had a role to play in the blackout that saw a transmission mast collapse due to vandalism.

Police claim that the power outage was intentional and could have been avoided since the respondents had been informed of vandalism since December 9, but they never acted.

Political intimidation

The President has urged the police to not allow political intimidation as the electioneering period beckons.

“You must not allow political intimidation to interfere with your work. You are supposed to execute your mandate without fear or favour and without intimidation from any quarters,” he said while addressing the National Police Command and the 298 graduating police cadets.

The Head of State presided over the graduation of the first cadet class who attained the rank of Inspector of Police after completing their Direct Entry Inspectorate Course at the Kiganjo Police College.

The cadets began the course in April 2021, taking a nine month police course that will see them deployed as mid-level managers in the service across the country.

The officers will be deployed to add their expertise in various fields like health, law and forensics in a move seeking to boost the capacity of the NPS.

During the passing out parade, President Kenyatta also asked the NPS and Kenya Defence Forces to initiate a partnership with the National Defence University of Kenya to train cadet police officers.

A National Police Leadership College is also set to be opened soon and will be a constituent of the National Defense University.

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