DUSK TO DAWN DARKNESS

Criminals on the loose after vandals steal 150 streetlights in Murang'a

In Summary

• Kenya Power suspects there is a syndicate with a ready market for street lights

• The most affected towns are Maragua, Murang’a, Makuyu, Saba Saba and Kabati

An aerial view of Murang'a town, where businesses close before dusk after theft of streetlights
24-HOUR ECONOMY THREATENED: An aerial view of Murang'a town, where businesses close before dusk after theft of streetlights
Image: Alice Waithera

Efforts to make Murang'a towns 24-hour economies are being frustrated by vandals who in the past year have stolen more than 150 streetlights.

Criminals are on the loose as some of the towns are in darkness from 6pm to 6am.

Kenya Power Murang’a branch manager Harrison Kamau suspects there is a syndicate with a ready market for the new brand of street lights.

“Kenya Power has been working towards ensuring that all shopping centres have street lights but the vandalism is dampening our efforts,” Kamau said.

The most affected towns are Maragua, Murang’a, Makuyu, Saba Saba and Kabati.

In some areas like Gatanga, thieves have sawed off the streetlight posts.

Businesses close before dusk for their owners to get home safely before they are attacked by criminals.

Some suspects have been arrested and their cases are pending in court.

Kamau warned the criminals that the Energy Act spells out stiff penalties of Sh5 million fine or jail terms of not more than 10 years.

 

“Those convicted of vandalising infrastructure in the energy sector can also find themselves paying the fine and serving the jail term,” he said.

The manager appealed to residents to report the vandals to the police as not doing so also endangers their lives.

“I am asking people to work with their local security officers to stop this crime and have the thieves arrested,” he said, noting that stealing a streetlight is not something one can do discreetly.

Kamau said the company will not be deterred from expanding power connectivity and lighting up shopping centres.

He said more towns – Kangema, Kandara, Kigumo and Kiriaini – will be lit before the end of this month.