Kenya’s airports authority has dismissed its chief, Alex Gitari, following a disruptive power outage that left travelers stranded in darkness at Nairobi’s primary airport. Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen, who has expressed regret for the resulting turmoil, made the decision. The BBC reports that Murkomen attributed the disarray to political interference, leading to a demoralized and disordered workforce within the East African nation.
The nationwide power outage, which originated on Friday, has not been fully explained by the predominantly state-owned power company. While some regions have had power reinstated, many homes and businesses across the country continue to grapple with the effects of the blackout.
Tourism is a crucial pillar of Kenya’s economy, contributing approximately 10% to the GDP, as noted in the government’s latest evaluation. Furthermore, it stands as a principal source of foreign currency for the East African nation.
The absence of operational backup generators at the main airport has provoked public outcry among Kenyan citizens using social media platforms.
Notably, alongside Gitari’s dismissal, a senior official from the civil aviation authority has also been removed from post, and the manager of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been repositioned to a role at Mombasa’s principal airport.
The nation has also witnessed scenes of disorder and lengthy queues at the entrances of its national parks due to a malfunction in the digital payment system.
Although power outages are not uncommon in Kenya, a widespread and protracted nationwide blackout, encompassing key locations such as Nairobi’s primary airport, medical facilities, and even the State House, is a rarity.
In times of operational disruption, Kenyan citizens often point to corruption as an underlying cause, as the issue of embezzlement of public funds has historically hindered the country’s progress.
The transport minister has reportedly disclosed that two generators acquired for the airport two years ago remain inactive. Further details such as the cost of procurement, the contract beneficiaries, and the reasons for the delayed installation would undoubtedly shed light on this matter.