………..The Making of a leader series…………..
By Collins Matubwi
After traveling for at least 50 minutes from Kakamega town to Mumias, finally here I was, in the Southern part of Kakamega County that housed the Wanga subtribe which is famed for its gentle, priestly, disciplined, intelligent but very principled personalities with a burning sensation for recognition.
I trotted the pavements that rooted from a decently designed gate towards a well-built house whose inner furnishings were alarmingly attractive. This was definitely the home of Fernandes Barasa, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco).
Barasa who is in his early 40s has chosen to live an austerely simple life despite having a rich managerial history, practicing in defiance of the odds.
Prior to his appointment as the managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Ketraco, Barasa served as Acting MD & CEO since August 1, 2015. Before then, he was the Company’s Chief Manager, Finance and Accounts. Prior to joining KETRACO, FCPA Barasa served as the Treasury Manager and later Head of Factories Accounts at the Kenya Tea Development Agency Limited (KTDA). He also worked for Kenya Airways and East Africa Re in senior management positions.
Barasa stands out as the longest serving CEO in a reputable parastal ever in the country and one of his own kind from western Kenya
FCPA Fernandes Barasa who is a Fellow and the current Chairman, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), is also a lead Auditor and Certified Public Accountant of Kenya. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree and a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance from Kenyatta University. Mr. Barasa has a wealth of experience in Public Finance Management, Risk Management, and Corporate Governance amongst others.
Barasa explains some of his achievements while at the helm of power at Ketraco including the reduction of electricity costs, transmission of electricity in companies that otherwise used fuel.
Mr Barasa has seen the formulation and launch of the Ketraco’s second five year Strategic Plan. He has also overseen the completion of 132kV Kindaruma- Mwingi- Garissa, the energization of 220kV Rabai- Malindi- Garsen- Lamu line and launched the 400kV Kenya- Tanzania Project and the recent ground breaking of Homabay Substation, part of the 132kV Sondu- Homabay- Awendo Transmission line project. Other notable achievements include leasing of excess fibre to Safaricom and Jamii Telecommunications Company.
He however lays bare credence of how he has planned to start several multi-billion projects in Western Kenya including the 400kv Olkaria-Lesos-Kisumu and 132kv Kisumu-Musaga-Kakamega that will go a long way in lighting the region by encouraging foreign and local investments and creating more job opportunities to the locals.
He founded the Barasa Foundation where he is the patron with an aim of transforming lives of the less fortunate in the society across Kakamega County.
Through Barasa Foundation, he has bought hundreds of motorcycles to bodaboda groups, supported churches through choir competitions, boosted the sporting industry through purchase of sporting equipment to various teams and paid school fees for the less fortunate.
Barasa has now taken the bull by its horns to navigate through the murky waters of Kenyan politics after declaring his gubernatorial bid for Kakamega County to replace the current Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who is retiring in 2022.
As a strategic planner, he knows what’s required to win the electorate to his side, which seasoned politicians in the race are currently lacking.
“What is driving me to politics is not to make money but the passion to serve my people, I’m not afraid of the seasoned politicians in the race and am optimistic that God will grant a way,” said Mr. Barasa.
“Kakamega County should not be managed by a politician but rather a seasoned manager who knows how to plan for the future,” added Barasa.
As a staunch and dedicated Catholic faithful, Barasa says he holds humanity with the religious dignity it deserves, ‘The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and I know he has prepared a table for me in front of my opponents,”
With a broad smile on his face, he recognises his family; his wife Dr Janet Kasili Barasa and his children as the main pillar and force behind his success.
“The collapse of Mumias Sugar has been a thorn to the flesh of sugarcane farmers in the region. I understand the politics behind its collapse but am destined to bring the factory back to its normal operations once I take over as the Governor of Kakamega County,” said Barasa.
Politics according to Barasa is a science of development that controls all sectors of the economy and has to be entrusted in a safe pair of hands; a personality he claims to own.
After the interactive interview, we left his Matungu home and joined King Peter Mumia, the reigning King of the Wanga Kingdom at his palace at Shiembekho to check on the renovations he had made to Nabongo’s palace. He later launched a youth and woman initiative courtesy of Barasa foundation an indication of a commital leader focused to the mantle to lead Kakamega County.