KenGen is one of the best run parastatals in Kenya.
Amidst scandals in every agency of government in Kenya, especially in the energy ministry. The energy producer has withstood the test of time, distinguishing itself as the beacon of hope in the corrupt Kenya space.
This has not come without challenges as the big company with good profits has had some problems with pleasing some section of society.
KenGen is a nation-wide company and it exists in many parts of the country. From North Eastern to Eastern to Nairobi, the assets of KenGen are enormous. This has attracted both petty and legit grievances to the company especially in the area of employment and vacancies.
Turkwell hydroelectric project at the border between Turkana and West Pokot counties was abandoned due to insecurity and the push for locals to be forcefully employed. They’ve been calls to have the project reinstated.
Turkwell was built at a cost of Kes. 6 billion and many have called it a white elephant. Independent research shows that the river Suam which drains its water into the gorge will have it blocked in 50 years time. The research shows that Turkwell is a dead project.
The siltation has been linked to environmental degradation as a result of destruction of water catchments and dense soil erosion.
“Siltation at Suam River Basin currently stands at 30,000 cubic meters and it will be unable to deliver sufficient volume of water to sustain adequate power supply in the next 50 years unless proper conservation measures are put in place,” said Sammy Naporos, Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) Managing Director.
In Garissa, Wajir, Kajiado and elsewhere, locals blame KenGen for not employing their young people.
The company has never answered back to these claims and continues to run well, making profits and improving on Kenya’s and East African geothermal energy prospects and security.
At one time in 2013, blogger Robert Alai claimed that the company is full of expatriates at the expense of locals.
In Nairobi, the unemployment rate is too high and unaddressed by the Central govt, but though the energy sector is too big and can accommodate the high number of graduates coming out of higher education, the emphasis is placed on one firm is too much.
Kenya Power laid off most of their metre readers to steal. The firm can easily employ thousands but it chose not to. This is not comparable to KenGen which requires a lot of expertise.
However, some concerns of nepotism and tribalism that is a huge problem in all government agencies are also true at KenGen.
Old staff make sure that their kin get jobs at KenGen. It is not an easy answer.