Government called upon to investigate electricity project in Kacheliba

The West Pokot leaders have called on the National government to investigate a contractor awarded a tender to install electricity in Pokot North Sub County.

Led by Kacheliba MP, Mark Lomunokol, the leaders said the contract was awarded seven years ago and work done on the ground was less than 50 per cent.

Speaking on Saturday during a tour on development projects with the area governor, John Lonyangapuo at Kasei in his constituency, Lomunokol said the contractor had disappeared and had not been seen for the last seven years while poles erected had been destroyed by termites.

The state of corruption in this country is wanting. This is a serious matter and it is corruption of the highest order. How can an individual pocket millions of shillings without working? The State should investigate and reclaim back tax payers money, he said.

The MP said the contractor had been slow on the job and the impact of the little job he did has not benefited the community since the poles have fallen.

Kenyans are taxed heavily to benefit from government services but those awarded tenders are not implementing the projects. The funds allocated to the project have already been swindled, he said.

He said rural electrification was part of Jubilee government mega projects but the residents have not benefited from the project.

Public institutions are supposed to have been connected to power but in my constituency, we are still using solar energy. I am sure people connected to electricity in my constituency are less than 30 per cent, he said.

The sentiments were echoed by governor Lonyangapuo, saying it was a shame for the county to be in darkness yet it produces power.

Turkwel hydroelectric power plan is located on the border of Kapenguria and Kacheliba constituencies and yet residents connected to power from the constituencies can be counted, he said.

We conserve the environment to ensure that the dam functions but we don’t benefit from it. Look, even sub county headquarters at Alale is not connected and yet this project was meant to supply power to the headquarters, said the governor.

The governor further blamed the ministry concerned for not taking any action for the works’ delay, saying the contractor could have been questioned long time ago.

Does it mean that the energy ministry is not aware of the stalled project? How can it take seven years without any action being taken? pointed Lonyangapuo.

He asked the government to ensure that this financial year, residents are connected to benefit from the dam adding that the contractor should be prosecuted.

We want the contractor first to be arrested and prosecuted for waste of government resources like poles. All erected poles have been eaten by termites. We are asking ourselves whether the poles were erected for termites or to supply power, said the governor.

Residents interviewed from the sub county termed the project as a ‘white elephant’ saying the locals have not benefited from the project as they were unable to engage in various businesses due to lack of power.

When we saw the contractor working on the power line seven years ago, we thought it would help to open up the region that has been marginalized for a very long time, said Julius Yarang’ole.

Yarang’ole said seven years ago, he had set aside funds to open up a wielding business at Alale centre but he has been forced to invest the cash in other ventures.

I have used the funds to buy goats since I had no other option. I fear I might lose them during dry spell. The government should help us. Youth can venture into different work if the power was there, he said.

The locals thanked the President for calling off awarding of the new tenders, saying this would force the Energy Ministry to complete the project.

We hope that the ministry concerned will heed the President’s directive and complete the project. Many investors have moved away from the area due to lack of electricity, said Yarang’ole.

Source: Kenya News Agency