Uhuru bans scrap metal business over increased vandalism


President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) at the National Police College-Kiganjo in Nyeri county on January 20, 2022. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

President Kenyatta has banned exports and dealings in scrap metal, hitting hard traders currently operating in the sector.

Speaking at the National Police College in Kiganjo during a passing out parade on Wednesday, Mr Kenyatta said that no dealer will be allowed to engage in the business until proper guidelines are put in place to regulate the sector.

“As of today, we will no longer allow, and we have put a moratorium on the export or the buying or selling of any scrap material until we have put in place proper guidelines that will ensure that material is not coming from the hard-won investments that the Kenyan people have made,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The ban is coming at a time the country has witnessed an increase in the number of vandalism mainly on power lines across the country.

“We have seen vandalism of different sign boards and towers of our transmission lines. We have also seen clear cases of sabotage as was the case in Naivasha where people intentionally unbolted some of our transmission lines and masts to create chaos and havoc,” Mr Kenyatta said.

Last Tuesday, a breakdown at Kenya Power’s transmission line caused a blackout that affected customers across major cities in the country such as Nairobi.

The electricity distributor said the outage, which occurred around 10:45am last Tuesday was caused by a collapsed tower on the Kiambere-Embakasi high voltage transmission line. 

It, did not, however, indicate in the statement the circumstances that led to the collapse of the tower on one of its high voltage transmission lines relied upon by consumers in the city.

The incident has seen close to 10 managers from the Utility firm arrested for alleged sabotage following last week’s national blackout.

The officials were charged with the responsibility of securing high voltage lines and transmission from the national grid, says police.

Investigations have shown that the basement of the Angle towers of Kenya Power’s High voltage power lines in Embakasi had been vandalised and the cross beams removed and unbolted, leading to the collapse that caused a major outage.