By PUBLIC WATCHDOG
On Monday, our political leadership across the divide converged not only in one location at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, but in reflection as Kenyans.
It was an appropriate hour for each leader to individually engage in self-reflection as well as collectively in a sombre mood away from the hitherto perpetually rising political temperatures.
Why and how? First, today is the second day of the official three-day period of mourning — with our National Flag flying at half-mast in honour of our departed leaders following last Sunday’s tragic aircraft accident.
The crash dispossessed Kenya and its people of two hard-working and principled leaders — Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and Assistant Minister Orwa Ojodeh — two pilots and two bodyguards.
It occurred in what is now a strange coincidence on the day and nearly to the hour and proximity of a similar fate that befell another two leaders, Cabinet minister Kipkalya Kones and Assistant minister Lorna Laboso.
Secondly, in another twist of what was certainly a dark weekend for our country, several Kenyans were killed and scores injured when a building under construction in Mlolongo area of Nairobi collapsed on Saturday.
At the time of writing this column, at least eight bodies had been removed while further recovery efforts were continuing in what can be characterised as a desperate affair.
At the outset, Public Watchdog dedicates this column for reflection and prayer, and hastens to convey heartfelt condolences to the families of the departed and the Kenyan people at large for the horrendous loss, with prayers that the Almighty God bequeaths strength, healing, peace and tranquillity to our Nation as well as its people.
Again, we welcome a thorough and independent investigation into the cause of the tragic crash and whose findings must be made public — not kept away as has happened to many other probe findings.
Thirdly, in the latter case, Public Watchdog expresses serious concern over what has turned into rampant cases of collapsing buildings while under construction.
In the recent past, a major building collapsed in Nairobi’s Westlands area and another one in Bungoma, in what is becoming a regular occurrence.
Yes, immediately after such incidents, authorities and professional bodies talk tough with no tangible action being taken to reverse course.
But the underlying reasons behind this malaise remain professional negligence, corruption and impunity that reigns supreme, where developers apply money influence to cut corners and compromise construction standards, including using sub-standard materials or neglecting professional advice.