NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A power blackout hit Kenya on Sunday evening, paralyzing large parts of the country, and the transport minister called for an investigation into “possible acts of sabotage and coverup” over the third nationwide outage in three months.
The electricity failure began around 8 p.m., affecting many vital facilities, including the main airport in the capital, Nairobi, which is a major transport hub connecting East Africa to Asia, Europe and other parts of the world.
Noting the recent big outages, Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen said soon after visiting the airport late Sunday that "we are making a formal request to the National Police Service to investigate possible acts of sabotage and coverup.”
The state-run utility, Kenya Power, blamed the blackout on a “system disturbance” and said the problem was being addressed by technicians.
“We have lost electricity supply to various parts of the country due to a suspected fault affecting the power system,” a statement said.
Later Sunday, Kenya Power issued an update saying it had restored electricity service to parts of the country, including some residential districts in the capital, but many areas in Kenya remained without power Monday morning
During a similar blackout last month, it took engineers over 12 hours to restore power in most parts of the country.
But the worst outage was on Aug. 25, the longest disruption in Kenya’s history. The cause remains a mystery, with the power company blaming a failure at Africa’s largest wind farm, which laid the responsibility on the power grid instead.
In parts of the country, including Nairobi, it took almost 24 hours for the power to come back on.
Kenyans on social media demanded answers from Kenya Power over the frequent power outages following Sunday’s failure, while others mocked the agency, saying it was worse than power companies in Nigeria and South Africa, where rationing or load-shedding, as it is known, is common.
The latest blackout in Kenya comes at a time when the country is facing high fuel prices which many have blamed for millions of dollars in losses to businesses and the wider economy, which is struggling badly.