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Senate to summon chief over ‘lies’ in Patel dam tragedy

By Mercy Kahenda | Published Sun, July 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 7th 2018 at 21:39 GMT +3
Senate ad-hoc committee chairman Mutula Kilonzo Junior when he visited Patel dam in Solai, Nakuru County with his committee members on July 6, 2018. [Photo:Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

The ad-hoc Senate committee has accused local administrators of misconduct and misleading the Senate on Solai dam tragedy that killed at least 47 people two months ago.

Committee chairman Mutula Kilonzo Jnr said it was unfortunate that government representatives did not give accurate information on the number of genuine victims of the May 9 tragedy.

Kilonzo took as issue with Solai Location chief Charles Kiragu, saying he will be summoned to appear before the committee for acting contrary to his mandate as an administrator.

“You have implicated yourself in this issue and this will cost you your job.

“Locals claim you have been dismissing and shortlisting people who are not genuine in the list of victims,” said Kilonzo.

Kilonzo said local authorities provided a parallel list of victims that culminated into a complicated competition process.

“Assistant county deputy commissioner and chiefs are accused of sneaking names of individuals who were not affected by the tragedy. There are three lists and we are not sure which is genuine,” said Kilonzo.

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Charged locals further took issue with Nakuru Town West Deputy County Commissioner Shaffi Elmi who took the podium to defend Kiragu, and efforts by Kilonzo to calm them were unsuccessful.

Elmi, who had represented his seniors was forced to take off amid jeering from the charged crowd. The Senate dismissed the list presented by the administration, staying it will mislead the government in rebuilding lives of the victims.

For transparency, he said the list should be compiled by local administrators who should involve victims in all the three villages of Nyakinyua, Energy and Nyandarua.

The Kilonzo-led committee was on a fact-finding mission at Solai together with other senators in the committee including Susan Kihika, Ephraim Maina, Prof Malachi Ekai, Fatuma Dullo , Silvia Kasanga and Subukia MP Samuel Gachobe.

The senator said though the senate has received threats from various individuals and agencies including attempts to bribe them to drop the matter, they shall not be intimidated.

“The 47 people who died are not just ordinary people, they are Kenyans,” he said.

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