Daunting task facing new Energy Cabinet Secretary

Thursday, September 29th, 2022 03:20 | By
Energy Cabinet Secretary nominee Davis Chirchir
Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir. PHOTO/File

Energy Cabinet Secretary nominee Davis Chirchir faces an uphill task due to a leadership gap in the power sector following the exit of Kengen managing director even as Kenya Power, Ketraco and EPRA remain without substantive bosses.

Rebecca Miano, KenGen managing director and CEO was named as Cabinet Secretary for the East African Community.

Kenya Power has not had a substantive MD for a long time following the exit of Bernard Ngugi, and the outgoing Energy Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma in the last press conference said the utility company was in the process of getting for a substantive managing director.

“Kenya Power is the centrepiece in the energy ecosystem. The singular focus must be on creating business processes that optimise performance and improve customer service,” she added.

Job market

Former Ketraco CEO Fernandes Barasa quit his job earlier in the year and won the Kakamega gubernatorial seat, sending the State agency back to the job market.

“Our client is seeking to recruit an open minded, self-driven, results oriented individual of high integrity to fill the position of managing director and chief executive,” Nairobi-based Consulting firm PKF said on behalf of Ketraco in a job advert in the dailies. Except Kengen, the two organisations have seen their executive suits change much faster with new CEOs and acting CEOs coming and leaving much faster than usual.

The regulator of the lucrative sector has not been left out in the “revolving door” game with its former MD Robert Oimeke ousted over corruption allegations and currently has an acting MD in Daniel Kiptoo.

Kenya’s electricity sector continues to suffer high prices and high debt, especially at Kenya Power though supply has continued to hold at least compared to the woes in Nigeria and South Africa.

Kenya Power has suffered heavy corruption due to questionable contracts meant to benefit the top dogs inside and outside the organisation thanks to its multi-billion shilling contracts involving supply of poles, transformers, meters and many others.

The company has also witnessed high turnover in its board, pointing to vested interests by top State officials. Geofrey Muli is now the Acting MD after Rosemary Oduor left in May. Chirchir will also inherit the simmering clamour for affordable electricity and overhauling the sector based on the energy sector masterplan that seeks to boost power production to 100,000MW by 2040.

Corruption allegations

Chichir was the former chief of staff in the office of Deputy President Willima Ruto who has now appointed him Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary. He was for the first appointed Energy and Petroleum CS by Former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013. He was, however, suspended in 2015 after corruption allegations.

Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has also been in the media over procurement related corruption cases with its leadership under constant review.

Kenya has one of the highest electricity tariffs in Africa making it very uncompetitive in terms of investor attractiveness.

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