Residents of Narasha Village in Naivasha on Friday 14th January 2022, took to the streets to protest discrimination in job vacancies by the Geothermal exploration firm OrPower 4 Inc.
The protestors, mostly Maasais whose land the energy-producing firm took up in 2013 leading to skirmishes was at pains to handle another thorny issue.
Protests in Naivasha:
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) January 12, 2022
According to records, OrPower, a Kenyan government contractor for geothermal energy, mostly tied to the Geothermal Development Company (GDC), employs 125 staff mostly expatriates.
After they came to power in 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto had to visit Narasha in August to quell the simmering tensions between the community and Orpower. A month earlier, the residents had violently chased away the Rift Valley PC Osman Warfa and Naivasha OCPD.
As per a Standard Group article, the officials had gone to hold talks with the community over the simmering row between them and the government over sharing of revenue.
A deal was struck and sanity restored and calm returned.
By October 2014, the Ministry of energy ignored a court order and continued to pay victims of Narasha eviction in Naivasha over KSh105m.
By compensating the community, the government was acknowledging that a land grab had happened.
There were forceful evictions before the company started building their power plant in the area.
Over 100 houses torched, tens left homeless, scores injured as AP n hired goons demolish Maasai houses in Narasha area of Naivasha.
— Ali 'Mwamvita' Manzu (@Ali_Manzu) July 26, 2013
OrPower is one of the Independent Energy Producers in the country that has made it hard to lower energy costs.
According to sources, the firm is behind the sabotage of power grid after President Kenyatta ordered that power costs be brought down.
OrPower is more tied to the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) and as such it is more answerable to the government and Kenyans through that parastatal. This is as per a energy researcher.
Exploitation by OrPower is seen in Kenya Power’s Financial Statement for the year 2020 where they supplied 1,076 GWh at Sh11.59 per kWh, raking in Ksh12.5 billion.