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Energy CS Monica Juma on the spot over Rural Electrification director's picks

BUSINESS
By Phillip Mwakio and Patrick Beja | May 2nd 2022 | 2 min read

The Council of Governors has threatened to sue over the appointment of six new board of directors at the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation.

The council said the appointment denied its representation, terming the move by acting Energy Cabinet Secretary, Dr Monica Juma, as irregular.

CoG chairman and Embu Governor Martin Wambora called for the immediate appointment of four representatives of county governments to the Rerec board.

He also called for the official appointment of the CoG representative to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) through a gazette notice. If not granted, the council said it will move to court.

In a letter dated April 27 addressed to Dr Juma, the CoG said the appointments were irregular and a deliberate attempt to exclude the council from being represented on the Rerec board.

“The council is concerned by the action as it negates the laws which stipulate that members of the board shall include four members appointed by the Council of Governors,” Mr Wambora said.

On April 14, Dr Juma appointed the six directors to serve three years on the Rerec board. They are Hassan Sora, Roda Njuguna, Samson Maundu, Isaac Mbeche, Hassan Haji and Henry Rono.

The Energy Act of 2019 gives the council the right to appoint four members to the board.

With the exclusion of the council, the new appointments are seen to give the CS sweeping power to control the Rerec.

Under the 2019 Energy Act, Rerec was to work closely with the county governments and the National Government Constituency Development Fund to widen electricity connection to rural areas through sharing of the cost.

The CoG said it was aware of the Statute Miscellaneous (Amendment) Bill 2022 that purports to amend the Energy Act to remove council representation to the Rerec board and the Energy and Petroleum board and replace them with Kenya Power and Lighting Company representatives.

“The Council of Governors is against these proposals since it contradicts the spirit of Article 189 and the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution,” said the council.

“The core values of the Constitution is devolution of power and sharing of resources as well as the participation of the people,” the council added.

Mr Wambora told the CS the spirit of devolution could only be achieved if the two-level governments work together in the “spirit of collaboration, cooperation and dialogue, noting that energy is a shared function.”

“We have since sent several correspondences to your office on areas of collaboration and partnership with no response,” the governor protested.

The letter was copied to West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo who is the chairman of the CoG Transport, Infrastructure and Energy committee and Rerec chief executive officer Peter Mbugua.

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