KPLC staff face sack over mother, son electrocuted to death in Kwale

Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) Board Chairman Mahboub Maalim during a press conference at KPLC Headquarters in Nairobi on Tuesday, October 29, 2019. He has ordered for the sacking of Kwale County KPLC staff over negligence that led to the death of a mother and her son last week.[Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Kenya Power and Lighting Company will sack all the employees in Kwale County South Coast main offices over the recent incident in which a mother and her son died after stepping on a fallen live power cable, the KPLC board chairman said on Thursday.

Mwaka Dziwe,34, and her three-month-old baby Rashid Juma died on the spot at Bowa area.

Last week incident triggered protests from the local residents.

Hundreds of locals joined by human rights activists gathered at KPLC, Ukunda main offices after protesting from Tiwi area where the incident had occurred.

The locals demanded that the staffs at the main offices be sacked and new ones employed saying despite being notified of looming danger, they acted with arrogance.

Led by Haki Africa lobby group, the locals asked the National Assembly Committee on Energy to launch independent investigation saying this was not the first incident to occur in the area saying many people have lost their lives due to such negligence.

At least six people have lost their lives and property worth millions of shillings lost in Kwale alone for the last two years because of power errors, according to report documented by lobby group since June 2018.

While receiving the memorandum from the locals and activists, the company chairman Ambassador Mahboub Maalim confirmed that the process of cracking the whip on the staffs have already started and no one will be left out.

He also promised that the company will take the responsibility of compensating the affected families over the incident and other numerous incidences that have been reported in the past.

He said they have already drafted letters of the employees who have been found of negligence and forwarded to its main offices in Nairobi for quick action to be taken.

Ambassador Mahboub who lauded the locals for staging protests to air their grievances, saying he will not shield anyone but will make sure justice prevails for the family.

"The incidences where people are hurt by power lines because of negligence is unacceptable and we as the company we have taken responsibility and apologised," he said.

He said the last week incident where a mother dies with her child happened because of the negligence of a few staffs warning that they will carry the cross.

"Letters have already been drafted and send to Nairobi and the committee have already met. Soon you will hear and see changes," he said.

Mahmoud who flew from Nairobi to Ukunda assured that the affected family will receive full compensation from the company adding that they have already foot the burial bill.

"We are already working on the issue of the family. I have contributed some fee for burial but that is no compensation," he added.

Haki Africa Director Hussein Khalid said it was not the first time where high voltage lines have caused human casualty despite the cries of locals.

"We have been demanding authorities to shift these fallen lines but our pleas continue unheard," he said.

They also ask for non-insulators wires be replaced with insulated ones among others.