President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday launched one of the largest solar power generation facilities in East Africa.
The President said his administration is keen on ensuring infrastructure projects are implemented to create an enabling environment for investment, wealth and job creation.
“We want money allocated for development to go to the right projects but not to the pockets of a few people. You the people are our employers and you have the right to hold us to account to make sure your money is used properly,” he said.
Uhuru was accompanied by Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi at Mbalambala in Garissa County where the 54 megawatt project spread over 84 hectares is located. He warned against misuse of public resources.
The Sh13 billion solar farm comprises 210,000 solar panels. The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation project was financed by China’s Exim Bank through a concessional loan arrangement.
He said the power plant is part of a broad government renewable energy strategy to harvest 400MW of electricity from the country’s vast solar resource.
Noting the speed with which the project was completed, the President said Garissa, which previously depended on unstable thermal power, is now fully connected to the national power grid. He said the government is keen on narrowing the development gap between regions of the country, adding that every Kenyan is part of his administration’s development agenda.
“I see that the gap that existed is being reduced. We are developing our country uniformly from Moyale to Namanga, from Mombasa to Lake Victoria,” he said.
He said the government plans to construct water pans in the region for rain water harvesting. Uhuru said he will be back to the region soon to open the Garissa-Modogashe road, which is almost complete, and launch the construction of Mbalambala-Garissa road.
Energy CS Charles Keter thanked the leadership of Garissa for their cooperation during the construction of the power plant and announced plans to compensate locals on whose land the facility was developed.
As part of CSR, the contractor has drilled a borehole, built a new school, clinics and renovated a 3km road.
Garissa Governor Ali Korane, National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale and Mbalambala MP Omar Shurie attended the launch.