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February 20, 2019

CS Keter, tread carefully before the gods desert you

Energy CS Charles Keter during a past press briefing. /MONICAH MWANGI
Energy CS Charles Keter during a past press briefing. /MONICAH MWANGI

My intention is not to prejudice the ongoing cases against 19 top employees of the troubled Kenya Power but to put into perspective the mess at the electricity monopolist in our midst.

For a very long time, Kenya Power has proved to be the pain in the backside for Kenyans. It is the house of shame as it grapples with inflated power bills scam, cooked and served by the high-octane graft-filled minds in the company and slapped on poor Kenyans.

Millions of power consumers have complained about skyrocketing electricity bills but their cries fell on deaf ears.  

As a consumer himself, lawyer Apollo Mboya stepped in and carried the cross for hapless Kenyans. He took the corrupt-laden Kenya Power before the courts pro bono and was now been vindicated.

This was in spite of top echelons burying their heads in the sand, hoping the accusations would fizzle out as they continued to dig dipper into the public purse to unashamedly enrich themselves and their godfathers.

With Mboya’s victory in the corridors of justice, out crawled in their thousands the unsightly maggots of deep-rooted corruption at the power distributor.

Just like in other government agencies, Kenya Power has been the cash cow for political appointees for years. How its former long-serving managing director Samuel Gichuru and former Energy minister Chris Okemo waltzed with international sleaze-stricken conglomerates to rob the tax-payers of millions of dollars is now the subject of an extradition order to the British Island of Jersey, where they stashed the Sh520 million loot.

Like their contemporaries, the two demanded kickbacks from international and local firms seeking tenders from the power company.

Interestingly, some of those projects the duo benefited from, for instance, the Ewaso Nyiro hydropower plant, remain white elephants to date, as Kenyans continue to pay millions in loans for hot air.

With their extradition directives yet to be executed, the some of these bosses got cozy with graft. They ate until they vomited on our shoes. Without an iota of shame, they filled their accounts with stolen money and when they could not feast anymore, they invited their relatives to the party.

The Swahili say, “Mwenye shibe hajui mwenye njaa (he who has a full stomach does not listen to the one with an empty stomach).

That is why when Kenyans complained of frequent outages and inflated bills, company top brass called them bluff.

When the heat went a notch higher, they held a string of press conferences to explain how they were working hard to ensure Kenya has power 24/7.

I am not sure but the grapevine says 2022 presidential campaigns is one of the reasons corruption deals spiked at Kenya Power. This is aimed at building a financial war chest for top politicians to buy political support and even influence the outcome of the election.

Energy CS Charles Keter is known to be as cocky as a black-maned lion of the Serengeti. However, his demeanor, in my humble submission today is that of a cornered Siberian fox cowering with its tail between its legs.

But the CS still lives in the misguided notion that it is only his juniors who will suffer the consequences of the blatant theft under his watch. His Board of Directors are living in grant delusion too. They are right to daydream after all they are in the make-believe world, where godfathers swing to the rescue at the slightest threat to their comfort.

It takes a very bold man to lecture the DPP’s office on why it dared to arrest more than 19 top officers in one swoop. The CS seems to live in the past. He should wake up. This is 2018, Mr CS. The game has drastically changed.

If I were Keter (thank God I am not) I would have climbed down from my ivory tower and vamoosed through the revolving doors of Stima Plaza and await the direction of the wind blowing out of the DPP’s office.

This might award him ample time to prepare his defense when the gods desert him in his time of need.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.





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