05 August 2009

Lights Out

Due to poor rains this year, KPLC will be rationing the power.  I have no idea what that means for us.  Rains here in Western have been consistent, but not up to par.  The rest of the country is further behind.  With the majority of power produced in hydroelectric plants the shortage has caused KPLC to begin to ration power starting tomorrow.

There are no specifics other than the phrase ‘ration’ when discussing power.  I anticipate having less consistent power.  There is hope.  El Nino (can we bring back the SNL Chris Farley skit?) is about to get going and the short rains will begin soon.  The combination of the two should produce plenty of rain.  Should and will are two different things and maybe they will converge for Kenya.

It also highlights the current issues concerning the Mau forest.  There have been a series of stories in the Daily Nation concerning the illegal ownership of the forest land.  The short version of a long and complicated story is that land was given to cronies of former President Moi.  He gave them title deeds and large plots of land.  A few decades later, the owners have convinced workers to come live and work on the land.  Now it is well settled and widely used.

In order to use the land for farming, it has been cleared.  Trees have fallen for crops to rise.  What has resulted is an environmental crisis.  With no trees, the rain water is not collected and the once full rivers are now nearly dry.  There is now talk of kicking the people off the land.  The issue has been continuing for the past few months.

Right now, the country is suffering because of the deals made by a former president.  That is not the sole reason, but it is a major contributor.  People now face eviction from land they thought they owned legally.  There are discussions of compensation for those people, but the trouble lies in evicting large tea plantations and wealthy Kenyans.