The government of Kenya has issued a 30-day ultimatum to Kenyans living on Kenya Power and Lighting (KPLC) way-leave areas to vacate or face eviction.
Interior CS Fred Matiang’i made the announcement following a meeting between officials from the security sector and their counterparts from the energy sector.
The aim of the meeting was to streamline a framework of collaboration and highlight immediate areas for prompt action.
The move is aimed at securing the nation’s public investments in critical infrastructure and safeguarding the public and key power installations.
Matiang’i said the government will start a process whereby National Government Administration Officers (NGAOs) will work together with the energy sector to move people living near power transmission lines within 30 days.
“We are going to start a process now, working jointly with our energy sector actors of quietly and in a very orderly manner removing our people from the way leaves and moving them out of the lines. Sensitisation will begin. Chiefs and Assistant Chiefs will meet these people in their various areas and begin to persuade people and get them to understand why it is very very dangerous to try and build houses and infrastructure right under the power lines,” Matiang’i said.
Matiang’i also noted that people who make illegal power connections endanger the lives of other people apart from their families.
According to Matian’gi, the move is meant to curb vandalism activities of the KPLC equipment that investigations found out caused the recent power outage that plunged almost the entire country into darkness.
“The country was plunged into nationwide darkness when four pylons tumbled down in Embakasi after vandals reportedly tampered with critical parts of ten installations,” Matiangi said.
Matiang’i reiterated people must work together in order to remain ahead of the vandals and ensure Kenyans get safe energy.
“We must work together to be a step or two ahead of these criminals. This is not about the Ministry of Interior or that of Energy but the safety of our people working hand in hand will ensure we deliver secure transmission and that our people have access to safe energy,” the CS said.
Matiang’i also disclosed that a distance of 60 and 120 meters on either side of the transmission line will be maintained depending on the load and expansion of wayleaves.
The meeting was attended by among others Energy CS Monica Juma, Energy PS Gordon Kihalangwa, Inspector General of police Hilary Mutyambai, KPLC and KETRACO officials and other officers from the security sector.