H.E Hon Raila Odinga played an instrumental role in the establishment of the standards agency.
The former Prime Minister was very keen to ensure good quality cylinders from his family company Specter Ltd that would push for the establishment of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs).
He later ended up working at the standards agency from 1975, before leaving upon being sure all was in place to check the quality of goods and products in the local industry.
He was initially the standards manager before he was elevated to deputy director in 1978.
The move to form the Kenya Bureau of Standards arose after Hon Raila realised that the expert they used to test the quality of up to 1,000 cylinders at Specter, John Edon, had to be brought all the way from Mombasa for that purpose.
It was then clear, the former PM requested that the country needed its own agency to carry out testing functions for commercial and industrial concerns.
He approached then Trade and Industry minister James Osogo and convinced him to initiate a process of writing a law, Kenya Bureau of Standards Act that was passed in 1973.
The agency’s board was formed the following year, with former Cabinet minister Kipng’eno arap Ng’eny as the first managing director.
For fear that the formation of the agency would take longer, Hon Raila Odinga decided to apply for the job, which he landed as standards manager in 1975.
While in charge, Mr Odinga oversaw the drafting of “standards for standards”, which would govern all the work KBS was to do.
It was then that he felt personally that the Spectre’s manufacturing problems were resolved.His work at the company was perhaps complete at the bureau, and therefore others could carry on without him.
He also ensured the bureau recruited qualified staff, with most of them later sent for graduate training in Germany.
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