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Theft of streetlights in Murang’a termed as a security risk and hindrance to economic growth

Increased incidents of stealing of streetlights in Murang’a has been termed as a major blow to security in some towns within Murang’a County.
For a period of one year, more than 150 streetlights worth millions of shillings have been vandalised in various trading centres in the county.
Kenya Power Company Murang’a Branch Manager Engineer Harrison Kamau has said in the recent past theft of streetlights has risen leaving several towns in the darkness.
He said with the new type of lights, the theft has gone up alleging that there could be a ready market for the lights which explains for the frequency of the thefts.
The company, he said is geared to ensure all trading centres within the county have streetlights but said the efforts are being frustrated by increased stealing of the lights.
“Towns which are hotspots for the theft include, Maragua, Murang’a, Makuyu, Sabasaba and Kabati,” Kamau told KNA on Wednesday.
He added that in Gatanga, the thieves opted to cut and made away with several streetlights posts terming the crime as a way of preventing traders from working at night.
“Despite affecting security, lack of streetlights is also negatively impacting on businesses in the local trading centre,” he noted.
The manger noted that several suspects have been apprehended and their cases are still going on in courts.
He explained that the new Energy Act has spelled out stiff penalties for those who will be found guilty of vandalizing energy infrastructure.
“If convicted, under the new Energy Act, the penalties for vandalism of power infrastructure attracts a fine of not less than Sh5 million or a jail term of not less than 10 years or both. In additional to forfeiting the vessel like vehicles used to carry out the vandalism,” Kamau further explained.
He called upon local residents to support security officers to apprehend thieves who are targeting streetlights.
“Stealing of streetlights is not easy and most probably one can be seen doing so. I appeal to local residents to be on the lookout and report promptly individuals vandalizing power infrastructure,” said the Manager.
Meanwhile, Kamau added that the programme of street lighting will go on despite the theft saying before the end of August, towns including Kangema, Kandara, Kigumo and Kiria-ini will have streetlights.
“The government has set aside money for street lighting and the programme will proceed. The lights apart from enhancing security at night will also boost the economy through extended business hours into the night,” he further said.
By Bernard Munyao

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