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Cofek puts the Energy and Petroleum top brass on notice

13 November 2013, 08:50 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi - The Consumer Federation of Kenya (Cofek) has sent a stern warning to Davis Chirchir, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, and his Principal Secretary, Eng. Joseph Njoroge, for their incompetence in the Ministry.

Stephen Mutoro, the Cofek Secretary General, said the Federation has sent several letters to the two Principals to explain why there is delayed appointment of substantive CEOs to very key consumer-interest parastatals in the sector but they did not respond.

"It is hurting the entire sector, national economy and consumers due to indefinite wait on Chirchir long after the respective boards of Kenya Power and Lightning, Kenya Electricity Generating, and Kenya Pipeline Companies, together with the Rural Electrification Authority and the Energy Regulatory Commission having submitted their nominees for appointment," said Mutoro.

"This is not acceptable and reflects negatively on his competence and suitability against the vast mandate in the Ministry. Chirchir's excuses of lack of gender, regional balance, insiders or outsiders or any other to fill the plum jobs are too weak if ever they are confirmed to be reasons the tight-lipped Cabinet Secretary is using to delay the said appointments," he added.

Mutoro cited that the Constitution's provision on value and principles of public servants requires them to be efficient, responsive, prompt, effective and to offer equitable services.

He added that the law requires such officers to be accountable for their administrative acts as well as being transparent in providing to the public timely and accurate information. He said if Chirchir doesn't comply to such constitutional provisions, then he should voluntarily relinquish his position to someone who is willing to work.

Mutoro said that if Chirchir does not make the appointments in two weeks, then Cofek will invoke constitutional provisions of Article 119 to petition Parliament to get him out of office.

He further said Cofek will commence a judicial petition on the need for Chirchir to be declared unsuitable and incompetent to perform his duty given his inaction and impotence in making relevant decisions. He also said they will directly petition the President and his Deputy to either transfer him to a lesser demanding position or simply replace him very soon lest they call for peaceful demonstration.

Moreover, Mutoro claimed that the Cabinet Secretary has failed to offer leadership on the key consumer issue which has kept fuel prices too high at the Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited.

"Its condition has kept the quality of fuel unpredictable and indeed the oil marketers have equally complained," said Mutoro.

Mutoro also noted that Kenya Power (KPLC) has been too poor and unnecessarily bureaucratic in service delivery to consumers on the form and time within which compensation is made to victims whose properties are damaged by power problems.

"We intend to bring a class action suit against KPLC soon. We urge consumers with unsettled claims to send us their details as soon as possible," said Mutoro.

He urged Kenya Power to use SMS and emails to further inform consumers of power interruptions to limit incidents of consumer inconvenience.

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