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Kenya power cuts: Airports boss sacked as tourists left stranded


The head of Kenya’s airports authority has been sacked after a power cut left passengers stranded in darkness for hours at Nairobi’s main airport.

Alex Gitari was fired by Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen, who has apologised for the chaos.

He added that political interference had resulted in a demoralised and disorganised workforce.

The majority state-owned power company has not explained exactly what caused the countrywide power cut.

Although some areas have seen power restored, homes and businesses across much of the country are still affected by the outage that began on Friday.

Tourism is a key part of Kenya’s economy, accounting for about 10% of GDP at the last count by government. The sector is also one of the East African nation’s top sources of hard currency.

Kenyans on social media are outraged that the main airport did not have functioning back-up generators.

In addition to Mr Gitari, another senior civil aviation authority official has been sacked and the manager of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been demoted to a role at Mombasa’s main airport.

Meanwhile, there have been chaotic scenes and long queues at the entrances to Kenya’s national parks after the digital payment system failed.

Power cuts are not unusual in Kenya, but such a lengthy countrywide outage with Nairobi’s main airport, hospitals and even State House plunged into darkness is rare.

When things don’t run smoothly, Kenyans are quick to point to corruption – the colossal theft of public funds has long held the country back.

The transport minister said two generators procured for the airport two years ago are yet to be commissioned.

It would be interesting to know how much they cost, who got the contract and why they have not yet been installed.

Source: BBC

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