Project to settle Solai dam tragedy survivors resumes after hitch

Peter Kimani, a resident of Nyakinyua village in Solai at work during the reconstruction of his house by the Kenya Red Cross on January 31, 2019. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]
Kenya Red Cross Society has resumed rebuilding of 37 houses for survivors of the Solai dam tragedy which killed 47 people last year.

The construction had stopped after skirmishes that saw a rowdy mob set fire to a flower farm at the Patel Milmet estate last week.

“The workers are back on site and we expect to complete work on the houses by February 25,” said Noellah Musundi, a communication manager with the society.

Last week’s incident saw the arrest and arraignment of Kabazi Ward rep Peter Mbae and seven people on charges of incitement, malicious damage to property and arson.

SEE ALSO :Solai Dam owner asks DPP for out-of-court deal

The incident happened slightly about two months after Kenya Red Cross Society Secretary General Abbas Gullet called on leaders in Nakuru to stop politicising the resettlement of survivors, saying it was delaying the process.

Months after the disaster, politicians still flock to the scene of the tragedy with a litany of promises while compensation for lives and properties destroyed has further polarised the area.

The  survivors have sued for compensation through human rights organisation and the case is still pending in court.

Yesterday Subukia MP Samuel Gachobe blamed what he termed as selfish political interests for the delay in ensuring that the victims resume normal lives.

“It is wrong for some politicians to try and look for political mileage when people are suffering,”  Gachobe said.

SEE ALSO :Solai dam owner seeks out-of-court settlement

He said it was wrong for the police to disperse a meeting between lawyers and their clients in Solai last week.

“Police should have allowed the people to meet and discuss the case with their lawyers,” he said.

Gachobe claimed that a politician from a neighbouring constituency had interfered with a process to engage the owners of the Patel Milmet farm for an out of court settlement.

“The victims had to go through the rigorous court process because someone interfered with an out of court compensation plan that residents had agreed upon,” he said.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui also blamed politics on the slow resettlement of survivors of the tragedy.

“I am ready to support any initiative to ensure that victims and survivors of the tragedy get justice as long as it is anchored in law,” he said.

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