President Uhuru Kenyatta ushered in a Sh1.2 billion national street lighting programme at the Makadara Grounds in Mombasa County yesterday.
The programme is to be applied in business centres across the country in a bid to encourage a 24-hour economy that will create job opportunities and cause all sectors of the country to experience growth.
The President urged the Kenya Power company to make sure the country reaches its target of providing power to 70 percent of Kenyans by next year and 100 percent by 2020.
According to President Kenyatta, the project is one of the most substantial by his government. He further stated that by March this year, electricity will have gotten to all urban areas to enhance and upsurge a 24-hour economy across Kenya.
President Uhuru also said that the government will invest greatly in geothermal power that will ensure electricity supply to Kenyans at an affordable price.
Quoting President Kenyatta:
“We will maintain the momentum we have started to achieve our goal of universal power supply by 2020 instead of 2030 as planned earlier,” .
The President also revealed that as of yet, power supply in Kenya has seen great changes contrary to what was seen previously. Adding that about 4.2 million Kenyans have access to power supply now which is strikingly more than 2.3 million in 2013, an increase of 52 per cent.
The multi-billion project will see that 52 towns in Kenya have access to power supply and will make sure that all primary schools in the country enjoy power supply as well.
According to President Uhuru:
“We have reduced the cost of street lights from Sh11.25 to Sh4.35 per kilowatt.
Businesses should now take advantage of this and expand their trade that will boost a 24-hour economy across the country,”
Other dignitaries present at the launch include, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho, Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir and other national and local politicians.
Speaking on politics at the event, the President issued a cautionary warning to leaders not to make cheap politics and constant fight their centre of interest or priority. He urged them to work with his government to bring development to the people.
In an apparent response to the opposition Cord leader’s comments, President Kenyatta stated that he was free to visit any part of the country. Raila had earlier questioned the president’s prolonged stay in Mombasa which comes barely months before the Malindi parliamentary by-election that will be held on March 7.
The President emphasized that,
“There are people asking why the President has been in Mombasa for too long. Is Mombasa not in Kenya? What is the problem? I will continue my stay in Mombasa and I will even do the same in other regions such as Garissa, Nakuru Kisumu and others,”
While speaking at the event, Governor Joho stated that Mombasa would show their committment to the agreement between Kenya Power and the county government for the Mwanga Mtaani (the project’s Mombasa edition) by maintaining the street light poles and being consistent in the payment of electricity bills incurred by the project.
Energy CS Keter also said his ministry will try hard to reach the promised connectivity targets made by the government.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir called out for end of “massive police swoops’’ in his constituency that led to continues harassment by the authorities.
According to him:
“This should stop so that now the people can freely engage in their businesses and enjoy the benefits derived from the street lightning project,”.
The Kenya Power company chairman Mr Kenneth Marende also promised continued affordable power to Kenyans and to end steady power outages.