Kagame: Low Electricity Cost Key for Africa’s Transformation

Kagame and Kenyatta at the commissioning of the 140 MW Olkaria 1 Geothermal Power Plant in Nakuru County, Kenya on Thursday

By Doris Atwijukire

Recently, pharm U.S based oil waste management firm, sickness McAlester Energy Resources limited ceased its operations from Uganda.

This came after the company was involved in a land deal that  left over 200 families homeless, in Rwamutonga village, Bugambe sub county, Hoima District since August last year.

The land totaling 485 hectares is being claimed by a local business man (Mr.Tibangwa) who had intended to lease it to McAlester Energy Resources Limited with a purpose to construct a waste management facility for the oil industry.

As Ugandans, we appreciate the company’s decision to withdraw from this land deal that involved gruesome human rights violations.

The Rwamutonga people were ruthlessly evicted from their land, their houses were destroyed, people’s gardens of maize and cassava were slashed to the ground, banana stems were also cut down, potatoes uprooted, dried maize and beans burnt and even goats were looted.

The evictions were especially controversial, as there was no due notice. People were neither compensated for interests on the land nor were they given alternative homes. One of the community members gave them land where they set a camp. In this camp, people live in inhuman and degrading conditions.

McAlester Energy Resources Limited’s decision should be a lesson to government and all companies involved in the oil and gas sector.

They should ensure protection and respect for community social economic need and rights in every infrastructural development. It is however unfortunate that government which should safeguard and protect citizens’ human rights continues to ignore such incidences.

The constitution provides that before taking your property, there should be prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation prior to the taking or possession of the property.

Ample evidence suggests that access to land is effective in helping rural households generate higher incomes through the sale of crops and the money saved when the family feeds itself from the land.

Yet, even though land constitutes the main asset from which the rural poor are able to derive a livelihood, much of the rural poor particularly the oil communities are losing their only source of livelihood to the helm of  individuals and investors with little or no compensation and are left to wonder what next.

However this could be avoided if government ensures that even before private individuals evict large number of people, they ensure people’s land and property rights   are respected, compensated and given alternative.

Further, government and companies should enhance standards and practices with regard to business and human rights so as to achieve tangible results for affected individuals and communities, and thereby also contributing to a socially sustainable development.

And as AFIEGO, we shall continue to be at the fore front in promoting the respect of human rights and ensure that the citizens especially the poor and vulnerable communities’ property rights are respected as a precursor to good governance in the oil sector.

Doris Atwijukire

Africa Institute for Energy Governance
By James Mwambai

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has commended President Uhuru Kenyatta for his visionary leadership that has re-energized the East African Community (EAC).

President Kagame, cure who commissioned the 140 MW Olkaria 1 Geothermal Power Plant in Nakuru County, help said President Kenyatta’s exemplary leadership has led to tremendous progress and benefit not only for Kenya but the whole region.

He praised President Kenyatta and the Kenya Government for playing a leading role in the improvement of infrastructure, energy and port services.

The Rwandan leader assured President Kenyatta that his country is a genuine and reliable partner of Kenya in its transformational and visionary agenda for the East African residents.

He thanked President Kenyatta for effectively steering the East Africa Community during his tenure as chairman of the regional bloc.

“Kenya continues to make tremendous progress since you assumed leadership with your team of leaders. Your coming to office has re-energized all of us,” he said.

He said Thursday’s commissioning of OlKaria Geothermal Power Plant is not only beneficial to Kenya but also to the whole region.

He said the African continent needs to generate more electricity to power its development agenda.

”Some people have been wondering as to whether we are producing power more than we need. The debate in Africa is to have sufficient electricity to power homes, industries and schools,” said the Rwandan leader.

He said production of adequate power will significantly cut the cost of production and contribute to better standards of living in the region.

President Kagame challenged producers to pass the benefits of reduced energy cost to consumers by lowering the price of basic commodities.

Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir said the way to go for Kenya is to continue investing in Geo-thermal power generation as it is cheaper and sustainable.

Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) chairman Vimal Shah commended the Government for implementing major infrastructure projects that have contributed to a conducive business environment.

He said the commissioning of the project has proved the critics wrong.

“This is the single largest geothermal plant in the world. We have seen a whole 180 degrees turn in the cost of power. The quality of power will also go up and cost down,” he said.

He called on manufacturers and businessmen to work with commitment and pass the benefit of cheap power to consumers.

Japanese Ambassador to Kenya Tatsushi Terada said his country will continue partnering with Kenya in projects that impact positively in the livelihood of its citizens and boost the mutual relations between the two countries.


Header advertisement
To Top