Theft and vandalism are believed to be the major crimes that are delaying the last mile electrification project – one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Mega Projects- in Kisii County.
A contractor implementing the last mile of the Kenya electricity modernization program connectivity in Nyanza region has decried theft and vandalism of materials in Kisii County totalling Ksh2.4m, which he said was delaying completion.
The contractor has therefore appealed to the local authorities to intervene and enable successful project implementation for the benefit of the public in the area.
Lukenya Greens and Shailee Electrical Limited which has completed 38 per cent scope of the work in Nyanza (dubbed lot 3) noted that material lost in Kisii included electricity poles and conductors.
Speaking at Boige Village Etago location in Kenyenya Sub County during a project visit by County Development Implementation and coordination Committee (CDICC), the Company’s Eng. Salano Mwaki also lashed at Kenya Power and Lighting Company for delaying supply of materials saying it led to the extension of time of project completion time by 10 months from August 2019.
Mwaki noted that KPLC was supplying only 500 electricity poles per month instead of the required 2, 000 to enable connections in 161 surroundings (referred to as schemes) with 19, 585 transformers.
He also decried low uptake by the targeted needy group of people which included the disabled, aged and the widows among others most of who were yet to do wiring in their houses.
Arguing that the work completed was commensurate with the materials supplied, Mwaki expressed optimism on timely completion once materials were supplied.
However, KPLC Kisii County Business Manager Mang’era Moronge blamed low supply of wooden poles by farmers for the predicament.
Moronge alleged high poverty levels of the targeted group had also led to the slow pace of implementation saying they required Sh20, 000 for wiring of a two-roomed house.
He said the alternative cement poles were expensive and very heavy weighing more than one tone each so requiring machines to lift, hence inconvenient to transport in the inaccessible areas.
On theft and vandalism, both parties now want the local leaders including the Deputy County Commissioners and the Sub-county security machinery to sensitize locals on the need to protect the materials since they stood to benefit from the program.
They appealed to the local chiefs and sub-chiefs to hold public barazas and sensitize the public on the need to report suspected vandals and urged the police to control movement of electricity materials to minimize chances of theft.
Kenya electricity modernization program is funded by World Bank for the last phase connectivity in the country which has seven lots, south Nyanza being one.