Hopes were high when the government launched the Sh6 billion Turkwel hydropower and multipurpose project in West Pokot County but the expectations are diminishing three decades later.
Long after the late President Daniel arap Moi commissioned the Turkwel Hydroelectric Power Station, the surrounding communities — Pokot and Turkana — still have nothing to write home about the French-made plant.
Residents of Lorogon, a remote village located about two kilometres from the Turkwel station, are crying foul over lack of electricity.
When the Nation visited the village, they said they have been neglected and no one thinks about connecting them to the power grid.
Most of the residents of Lorogon, with a population of 2,400, are forced to use solar and traditional lanterns (Koroboi).
“We have been sidelined by the government. We have a dispensary and school but both have never been connected to electricity. We live close to the project but we have not benefited from it,” said Mr Lomokol Vincent, a resident.
The residents said even with the rural electrification programme initiated by the Mwai Kibaki regime and the Jubilee government’s One Mile Connectivity programme , majority of households still do not have access to power.
Ms Mary Achwaa, another resident, said it is disheartening that they are still in darkness despite being in close proximity to the power plant.
She said medicines at their Logoron dispensary often go bad because it lacks electricity to power the fridges.
Ms Achwaa added that the 300 pupils at Logoron primary cannot enjoy electricity to study like their counterparts in other parts of the country.
“This dam was constructed for three purposes, namely: to boost electricity in this area; irrigation for our farms; and, fishing. Out of these, irrigation and electricity remain a pipe dream for us. Kenya Power and KenGen have done very little for us… we don’t even have water,” said Ms Achwaa.
She added: “No one from this village has been employed by KenGen; they are inhuman. We just live by the grace of God.”
The residents now want the government to look into their plight. “We are urging the government to remember us. There is no way we can be close to a dam and be in darkness,” said Mr Gilbert Kerio, another resident.