Gangs supply power and extort companies in Kenya’s slums. Residents in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi’s Mukuru Kayaba area, rely on illegal electrical hookups to light their homes.
To connect shacks, wires are run beneath the ground, through walls, and over roofs.
Organized gangs are in charge of distribution. They use well-organized extortion rings to collect payments from residents and businesses.
Utility for electricity Staff at Kenya Power is afraid to go into the slums for fear of being attacked by gangs.
They sometimes share a percentage of the extortion earnings with the gangs. Local leaders and security services have also been implicated.
Households are charged between $2 and $4 per month for power, whilst businesses are charged between $6 and $8 per month.
The cartels are so powerful that if locals refuse to pay, they can be cut off from receiving supplies for days.
“If you look at our living conditions, you will realize that we may not be able to pay for the energy at times,” said one resident who begged to remain anonymous for fear of being victimized.
However, in addition to supplying households with inexpensive electricity, illicit connections are also a deadly trap. Unsuspecting youngsters and guests are shocked to death when they come across them.
In the last three years, 345 individuals have died in the slum due to electrocution, according to Kenya Power.
Rain and strong gusts are frequently responsible for bringing down live wires. Others collapse because of deteriorating structures.
“For example, following the rains last year, an elderly guy was murdered by electricity. Because of the way these electrical connections are made, and because this pole is already rotting, it breaks and lands on the rooftop when it rains heavy. So, as the old man was exiting the gate, he accidentally touched the rod and was electrocuted to death,” According to a local,
Kenya Power has begun a campaign to deconstruct erroneous connections across the country. If they succeed, they would not only have reduced the gangs’ power, but they will also have cut off a source of income for Kenya’s destitute.