The objective of this post is quite simple:
How to destroy a $50Mn project using one Slay-Prince and Two Scared Vegey-tarians – a posh, sophisticated version of vegetarian.
An example of how USAID/DFID have no idea of what they are doing… I dunno if it was them, but this is typical of a USAID/DFID project… “Upside down thinking and no idea where they are”
I’ll tell you about the Cummings project in MARIGAT – the Prosopis Juliflora (Mathenge) Project – and why I predicted it would fail. I was right.
Many moons ago – I was the GM for Cummins Dealers – Werrot & Co, Bawa House, Lusaka Rd – so I know a few things about Power Generation… because I was taught by a Genius… Mr Gian Singh Badhan… I am bloody clever… and have won arguments against fearsome USAID power consultants in Juba… yet I rank a miserable 10% against Mr Gian Singh…
And so – 2016 to 2017 – I get called by a consultant: “Cummins are doing a 12MW project in Marigat blah blah…. Wanna go and have a look?” OK.
Their concept is simple. The steps:
- Harvest and dry the abundant, thorny Mathenge shrub.
- Shred into chips.
- Turn the chips into combustible gas using high temperatures in a kiln (By product – pure ash only)
- Pipe the gas to Generators – to generate electricity.
I know Marigat area – hostile. The only thing is mambas, scorpions and naked men with AK47’s. Yes – naked women too… well topless to be precise… and they have “AK47 Bullet Nipples” when young… Ah… happy memories
I asked a few people: Has Marigat changed much?
Answer: No – cattle rustling still ongoing.
I was taken to a leafy, very pleasant suburban office in Lavington, where their HQ was…
(Warning sign No1 – a Nairobbery Head Office for a remote project)
I met the Directors – a local Kenyan from Central, driving a BMW 5-Series with low-profile tires as the office car, and a fat Indian from Mumbai, and HIS SON – whom he had employed.
(Warning sign No2 – Slay-prince with low profile alloys on a town car, and scared Indian from India who has employed his illiterate son).
The Consultant who took me was “Mzee wa Kazi” – and used to sorting out issues in the bush… as the point man…
So I am looking at the “Management” – a slay prince and two scared vegetarian Indians…
I asked them a question: What is the by-product when you gasify Prosopis in your ovens/kilns?
Low-profile Alloys Man says: 10% Charcoal. (The Indians do not contradict him).
Me – thinking inwardly – If 10%, means process is incomplete, inefficient – should be 25% charcoal, or Zero% charcoal… NOT in-between……
(Warning sign No3 – Management giving incorrect answers, means they are Uni-Graduates, and have never done a day’s practical field work in their lives).
Probably got a 1st Class Honors in Theoretic-Electric Engineerinology… can he jerry rig a wire broom to clean the chimney-flue from the resinous gases that probably cake the sides?
Ati Jerry-Niini? Me-Abobo Graduate in Engineerinology from Punjab University, Ludhiana Campus – Jerry Rig? Nefaaaa!!!
I kept quiet and asked no more questions.
On the way back – the consultant asks me: What do you think?
Me: I think this project will fail.
Consultant – launches into an agitated tirade: Do you know how big Cummins is? Do you know how many GW they generate? You know NOTHING.
The rest of the journey passed in silence.
I, Nawaz Khan, had dared suggest a Cummins – CUMMINS No LESS – power project would fail.
So anyways… here we are. Its 2020.
Mr Shah of Grant Thornton Muthithi Rd has the project in his hands – it is in receivership – for sale – I think a 10% offer will seal the deal – 3% if you want to be arrogant.
If anyone wants an intro to Mr Shah, well, call me.
Question: How much of the 12Mw/hr have they generated and sold to the Grid?
Note for special illiterates like Duncan-Bush-Njuguna: 12MW = 12,000Units per hour for sale…
Total Ka-Elecricitiricity (I forgot how to spell the word Tricity) Sales to Date? 0.00/-.
Can it be fixed?
Yes, using Bush-Monkeys like Nawaz Khan and Duncan… who drive 1989 GX – manual windows, NO AC…
Can it be replicated and scaled?
Yes – Garissa is drowning in a sea of green because Somalis cannot chew these leaves.
You know who knows MORE than anyone else about Mathenge?
Texas Ag – Donnie – what you Amreekis call “Mesquite”
Side Note: Do you know what this USAID/DFID project DID produce in abundance?
Lots of Data. No Electricity, but I saw FOLDERS and BINDERS FULL of Data……
cc: Chatham House https://www.chathamhouse.org/research/regions/africa/east-africa