POVERTY

Turkwel power plant doing little to benefit host communities

Firm has for years failed to help the Turkana community with an excuse of insecurity

In Summary

• Residents bore the brunt of inter-communal conflict pitting the Turkana and Pokot communities that each claim ownership of the land on which the plant stands. 

• Nearby Lorogon village, which is a stone throw away, doesn't have power connections with locals depending on solar power to light up the remote village. 

Turkwel Dam on the border of West Pokot and Turkana counties.
NO BENEFITS: Turkwel Dam on the border of West Pokot and Turkana counties.
Image: COURTESY

More than two decades after retired President Daniel Moi commissioned the Turkwel Hydroelectric Power Station, residents of Lorogon village in Turkana county, which is one kilometre from the company, have nothing to write home about the establishment of the French-made plant.

In fact, the establishment of the plant seems to be a curse for residents who bore the brunt of inter-communal conflict pitting the Turkana and Pokot communities that each claim ownership of the land on which the plant stands.

The road connecting the company and the village is dusty and dilapidated. In 1997, Lorogon public primary school was closed for a year after a series of attacks by gunmen who terrorised the area. The school registered its first KCPE candidates in 1991 and had to ferry them 25km to Kainuk to sit the exams until the school was closed.

The company has for years failed to help the Turkana community with an excuse of insecurity. Kengen should stand up and initiate community livelihood projects and infrastructure that are impactful to the host community.

Of what use is the plant in the area if locals do not benefit? Residents continue to wallow in poverty with the company drawing profits from the generation of electricity. It’s imperative for the company to construct social amenities as Corporate Responsibility Projects as a way of lifting the status of the area that has hosted the company for 27 years.

Embarrassingly, Lorogon village, which is a stone throw away, doesn’t have power connections with locals depending on solar power to light up the remote village. Poverty has forced hundreds of children to abandon school despite the capability of the company to sponsor bright poor learners.

 

Turkana