Africa

Kibaki urges Kenyans to register as voters

KIBAKI-KIPEVUPresident Mwai Kibaki has urged residents of the Coast region and indeed all Kenyans to register as voters in order to be able to fully participate in the country’s democratic process.

President Kibaki particularly appealed to Kenyans of age to take advantage of the ongoing voter registration exercise to enable them vote in the forthcoming elections.

Speaking during the commissioning of the Sh. 10 billion Kipevu III thermal power plant in Mombasa, the President said it was only by taking part in the electoral process that citizens will influence the political and economic agenda of the counties and the country at large.

On that note, the Head of State impressed on Kenyans to be peaceful and learn to tolerate different shades of opinion during the campaign period saying peace and stability remained the foundation of a prosperous Kenya.

” If you don’t register as a voter then how will you participate in choosing the right leaders to govern this nation?” the President asked.

The President noted that it will be foolhardy for any individual to expect good leadership and yet they don’t participate in the registration exercise.

With regard to provision of adequate power supply in the country, President Kibaki expressed the Government’s commitment and determination to significantly increase electricity generation in order to boost production of goods and services and spur Kenya’s industrialization efforts.

The President said, “Over the last 10 years, we have increased national electricity connectivity and significantly improved the installed electricity capacity.”

To meet increased power demands in the country, President Kibaki further reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the development of green sources of energy which are relatively cheaper to run and therefore affordable than oil-based thermal generation.

The Head of State noted that the country’s robust economic growth coupled with fast rising population levels have accelerated the demand for electricity.

“This phenomenon has presented several challenges for us. Firstly, our total installed electricity capacity at 1,500 Megawatts against a peak demand of 1,300 Megawatts leaves little room for generation capacity break down or becomes grossly inadequate under serious drought conditions.  Secondly, our country’s electricity per capita consumption of 170 kilowatts hours is very low.  In addition, the national electricity connectivity is 30 per cent of the population,” the President said.

To further complement the many local initiatives aimed at meeting the country’s electricity demand, President Kibaki said the government continued to explore non-traditional energy sources.

To this end, the President encouraged establishment of effective regional power pools that allow inter-state sharing of power resources to facilitate the development of bigger projects which would enjoy economies of scale.

Such initiative, President Kibaki said, will also facilitate the development of regional projects that would otherwise have been virtually impossible to undertake by individual countries both for financial and power system stability reasons.

‘Vision 2030 economic blueprint’

He reiterated his Government’s commitment to ensuring an enabling energy policy and legal framework that best facilitates energy production, supply and distribution to provide stimulus for socio-economic transformation as articulated in Vision 2030.

Said the President, “Under the Vision 2030 economic blueprint, it is intended to grow our electricity generation capacity to 21,000 Megawatts in the next 17 years to provide for the projected peak demand of 17,000 Megawatts and a reserve margin of 23 per cent”.

Emphasizing the country’s strategy to diversify the electricity generation mix with a sharp focus on green energy sources such as solar, geothermal and wind power, President Kibaki anticipated that by 2030, more than 90 per cent of Kenya’s population will be connected to power supply, principally from the national grid.

“In this regard, I recently launched the construction of the 280 Megawatts geothermal project at Olkaria geothermal field and it is scheduled for commercial operation by September 2014,” the Head of State added.

Welcoming plans by KenGen to raise its total generation capacity to 3,000 Megawatts by the year 2018, President Kibaki said the increased electricity supply together with another 2,000 Megawatts being implemented by independent power producers underscores the country’s determination to correct the deficit in power generation and lay the foundation for industrialization.

On financing of infrastructural projects in the country, the President commended KenGen for funding the 115 Megawatts Kipevu III Thermal Plant through a local infrastructure bond floated by the company in 2009.

He noted with appreciation that participation by the citizenry in such projects confirms the people’s confidence in the infrastructure projects being implemented and a good example of what can be attained through mobilizing domestic savings for long-term investments.

He therefore called upon other public institutions in the country to emulate KenGen’s example in raising development funds to augment resources provided by the Government.

In his remarks during the function the Minister for Energy Mr. Kiraitu Murungi thanked the President for ensuring peace and stability which he said is a key ingredient for free, fair and peaceful elections.

In this connection, the Minister urged Kenyans to register in large numbers so as to be able to exercise their democratic right of electing leaders of their choice.

On the energy sector, the Minister thanked the President for his support saying when history is  written the President will be remembered for the expansion of energy and power supply to all corners of the country.

Mr. Murungi said the Ministry is expanding its activities of exploring more geothermal energy projects and natural gas so as to provide cheap and affordable energy to spur economic activities in the country.

The area MP who is also the Assistant Minister for Environment and Natural Resources Ramadhan Kajembe thanked the President for the many projects initiated in the Coastal region and the country at large, saying the major infrastructural projects and the passage of the new constitution will be a mark of his legacy to be remembered by many generations to come.

He said the many government projects initiated under the President leadership have brought government services closer to wananchi.

On the on-going voter registration, the Changamwe MP noted that the joint efforts of government officials and local leadership in the region has resulted in a calm and peaceful environment which has allowed the locals to participate in the important exercise.

Other speakers included Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Communication Eng. James Rege, Assistant Minister for Energy Mr. Magerere Lang’at, Kengen Managing Director Mr. Edward Njoroge, Chairman of Kengen Mr. Titus Mbathi and Coast PC Samuel Kilele.

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