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PM says Mau evictions to continue

NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 23 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday said efforts to restore the Mau and all other water towers in the country were critical to the survival of mankind and cautioned politicians against frustrating such initiatives.

Emphasizing that the restoration of the water towers was irreversible, the prime Minister said government would do everything possible to ensure that relocation of the settlers from forests was done as humanely as possible.

He said: “We are not people who are inconsiderate to subject people to suffering. We will do it as humanely as possible, but government efforts must not be frustrated by a few selfish politicians who are doing it for political reasons.”

Saying the government needs the support of all Kenyans in these efforts, the PM pointed out that restoration was also underway in other water towers of Mt. Kenya, the Aberdares, Cherangany and in Mt. Elgon.

He said the country was poised to become a green economy by the year 2020, adding there was reason and willpower.

“That is why we are going to Copenhagen (climate change summit) with concrete plans. We must succeed in Copenhagen; we are not going to do blame games of who are the polluters of yesterday. We must commit ourselves to specific goals informed by science that we must save the globe,” he added.
Mr. Odinga was speaking at a Nairobi hotel when he opened the green energy electricity conference organized by the Government in conjunction with the French Development Agency (AFD) and the United Nations Environment Programme (ENEP).

He invited private investors to develop geothermal fields in Kenya saying the country had the potential to provide 7,000 MW of clean and reliable geothermal energy.

Noting that 90 per cent of the wells so far drilled had steam in sufficient quantity and in high temperature, the PM told investors to discard the notion that it was risky to invest in the development of geothermal energy in Kenya.
He said, “I note in particular the enormous potential in geothermal, which if explored, we can easily provide 7,000MW of clean and reliable energy.”

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He  hastened to add, however that the government will not wait indefinitely for investors and was prepared to allocate a large amount of its own resources and also borrow to develop geothermal fields in the country as rapidly as possible.

Saying Kenya must seek to develop power with reasonable tariffs that can translate to reduced costs to end-users, the PM emphasized that the country would not compete in the global market with high cost of electricity.

In this regard, Mr. Odinga said the country’s potential to generate a combined 2,000 MW of electricity from wind, solar and bio mass should be explored.

Reiterating that the development green energy requires large amounts of funds, the PM appealed to development partners to be more flexible with their terms and release funds much faster than is the case now.

“We must seek to develop and bring on aboard power with reasonable tariffs that can translate to reduced costs to end-users. Without it, Kenya would not compete in the global market. We would not attract the investment we so badly need, “he said.

The Prime Minister further noted that Kenya should seriously pursue nuclear power as it develops the right mix of green energy over the next ten years, saying the benefits of nuclear power as a climate friendly energy source are unparalleled.

He assured that the government will not compromise the safety of Kenyans for the sake of having more power, noting the country will develop best policies in order to have requisite energy planning and waste management and to ensure safe transportation of radioactive materials.

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