The government is set to kick off a sensitization exercise in a bid to dissuade members of the public, especially residents of slum areas, against dangers of vandalism. The rollout will be done alongside wide-ranging reforms targeting the scrap metal sector which has be singled out as the single biggest absorber of vandalized materials which include metal used in assembling power pylons.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi who was flanked by Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma warned that the vice exposes Kenyans to grave dangers which can be avoided.
Speaking during a meeting with National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs), Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) commanders and energy sector managers on Thursday, Matiangi also said chiefs and assistant chiefs will be tasked with the duty of sensitizing the people on the dangers of setting infrastructure or buildings under the power lines.
“We are working together on how to keep our people safe. If you saw what happened recently, you actually arrive there and immediately kneel down and thank God. We had hundreds of our people right under those pylons imagine if it had caught fire, we would have lost hundreds of our people,”
He was referring to the recent collapse of pylons in Embakasi which triggered a national power blackout mid-January. He said the Ministry of Interior will work in collaboration with the energy sector actors to initiate a process towards relocating the people from the transmission line wayleaves for the sake of their security.
Matiangi stated that the chiefs and assistant chiefs will be tasked with the duty of sensitizing the people on the dangers of setting up infrastructure under the power lines.
“Sensitization will begin, chiefs and assistant chiefs will meet with these people in their various areas and begin to persuade people and get them to understand why it is very dangerous to try and build houses and infrastructure right under the power lines,”
He added that those people who try to steal power and engage in illegal power connections endanger their lives and others. While commenting on the current moratorium on scrap metals, Matiangi said the government will commence sectoral discussion on the organization of the scrap metal and the way forward beginning January 31. He added that security agencies had been briefed on the enforcement of the ban.
“What we have seen in the vandalism of infrastructure its actually exposing the country and almost the entire of our population in some cases grave danger that is why we have moratorium in place for a short period of time,”
CS Juma on her part said the meeting with Matiangi agreed on a framework to secure infrastructure in the country and to ensure the public is also involved in the process.
“This infrastructure is expansive, it’s across the country and one of the reasons we are here with the officers form the national administration is to really help us call upon the citizens to play that civic duty to secure public assets,”
On January 11, a nationwide power outage was experienced following the collapse of the Kiambere-Embakasi high voltage transmission power line in Embakasi. Some Kenya Power officials have since been charged with negligence and sabotage following the incident.
Edited By: Chepkosgei Jedidah