A further search in nearby homesteads led to the recovery of more vandalized apparatus, where a container full of steel bracings obtained from critical electricity transmission towers were recovered.
Following the raid, Johana Thuku and Stephen Githitu, were arrested and arraigned at a Thika court for the offence of vandalism. Additional counts of handling stolen energy equipment were also slapped on the thugs.
A third suspect, Patrick King’ori, was arrested later in the evening as he tried to escape our dragnet. Detectives are burning the midnight candle to net more of their accomplices who are still at large.
The arrest of the three suspects comes barely a month after President Uhuru Kenyatta, announced a moratorium in scrap metal trade due to runaway vandalism, targeting critical national infrastructure.
The level of greed by unscrupulous traders out to make illegal profits by vandalizing critical installations has hit alarming rates, threatening the country’s economy.
On January 11, this year, Kenyan homes and businesses were plunged into darkness after a high voltage transmission line connecting the capital collapsed, in what was suspected to be high-level vandalism.
Last November, operations along the busy Mombasa-Nairobi Standard gauge railway (SGR) had to be stopped for two hours, after gauge blocks were vandalized from the line.
So far, five suspects have been arrested and presented before court, since the crackdown began.
Below are some comments from Kenyans:
Wanyama Wakasiaka – “These vandals are the worst saboteurs. They should answer to their indiscretions. The targeted arrests is the best approach. Advise his Excellency the President to lift the moratorium on scrap metal for genuine dealers to earn a living. In fact, when the businesses are on, you are likely to nab the rogue ones easily.”
Patrick Kyalo – “Vandalism is a very retrogressive engagement, it hurts the Economy and reverses the gains we have in infrastructure while only benefiting few individuals. The Courts must come to our rescue by slapping these vandals with heavy penalties or sentences as a deterrent measure..even if it dearth sentence as President Uhuru suggested one time. Anyway DCI Boys dont relent in these.”
Wonderful Paul Nderitu – “This shud be nothing less of capital offence whereby the sentence shud not be less than 20yrs in jail,they shud be severely punished, me being in the steel industry i have witnessed the sharp increase of steel prices for the last two month of up to more than 40% per piece,for example b4 the bann D16 was 1930shs today 2750.a difference of 820 per piece in nairobi, friends we are paying this heavily all this as a result of such despicable acts of vandalism by few, thus making our president to announce no selling of scrap metals.”
Adrian Rotich – “Because of this tough economic time of galloping inflation and our president is saying we are improving economicwise yet there is no money in our pockets,I have decided to make a deal of stealing the tarmacked roads which our money that could have been in our pockets got lost to, any body willing to buy several kilometers of tarmacked roads should be directed to me.should we die and our money is here with us?”
Victor Albert – “Good Work Directorate of Criminal Investigations these Criminals Committed Serious Economic Sabotage and should be used to Capture other Criminals then Our Courts should Sentence them 100years without Parole.Kenya Power should come up with high Tech Security Surveillance like CCtv and Tracking Devices to Stop Vandalism.”