Mombasa — Deputy President Righathi Gachagua says there is a need for a thorough re-evaluation of engineering practices in Kenya following the recent mess of roof leaks at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi.
The recent heavy rains being experienced in the country have exposed the poor quality of work that was undertaken during the renovation of terminals at JKIA, Kenya’s most important gateway.
The Deputy President lamented the state of JKIA renovations, a project that was executed at considerable cost, is now tarnishing the engineering profession’s reputation.
“JKIA was done at a massive cost, but today it’s a shame to the profession of engineers. Public resources were spent, and today we feel sorry. We may want to look at the law where professionals are held accountable for lapses, and probably they become capable criminally,” Gachagua stated.
Speaking during the 30th Institution of Engineers of Kenya Convention and the 18th General Assembly World Council of Engineers at Pride Inn Beach Resort in Mombasa, Gachagua said the JKIA’s leaking roofs serve as a wake-up call for the engineering community.
The incident at JKIA stands as a reminder that public safety and trust hinge on the competence and ethics of those at the helm of engineering endeavours.
Gachagua asserted the importance of cracking down on quacks in the engineering profession, urging the need for accountability among professionals.
“I agree we need to deal with quacks, and many people professing to be engineers are not even here today attending this conference,” said Gachagua.
He said five per cent of engineers lack integrity.
“We have five per cent of engineers who lack integrity. They connive with contractors to compromise standards,” said Gachagua.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen said professional negligence has led to the construction of poor infrastructure.
“We have an airport in Nairobi that we just renovated the other day. We have not even commissioned it, and it is already leaking. You ask, who was in charge of the project to ensure the standards?,” posed Murkomen.
He added, “We need a register for all projects and the engineers who are in charge of those projects. So that we can follow up on every project.”
At the same time, Murkomen said Kenya is currently in the generation that heavily depends on engineers.
“We need to have climate-resilient infrastructure, to use and deploy technology to resolve the problems that we have,” he said.