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Human Rights Commission sues Kindiki, Tuya for negligence during floods

National
 

A woman risk her life to cross the overflown Nairobi River in Mathare 4B to Mathare 4A on May 11, 2024[Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) has taken legal action against top government officials, alleging their failure to protect flood victims nationwide. 

Court documents obtained by The Standard reveal that KHRC accuses the government of violating the constitutional rights of citizens by neglecting flood protection measures.

The court documents state: "Despite the extensive adverse effects, the respondents' actions—often knee-jerk reactions and omissions—have demonstrated negligence in fulfilling their constitutional and statutory duties, resulting in gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms."

The lawsuit names three Cabinet Secretaries including Kithure Kindiki (Interior), Soipan Tuya (Environment), Alice Wahome (Lands), Attorney General Justin Muturi, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), and others. 

KHRC contends that their negligence exacerbated the impact of floods, particularly during evictions in the Mukuru Kwa Reuben and Kwa Njenga slums.

Specifically, Kindiki's directive to evacuate residents within the 30-meter riparian corridor of rivers and watercourses within 24 hours led to house demolitions and loss of life. 

The Human Rights Commission now seeks compensation for flood victims left without alternative housing.

Additionally, the government faces criticism for disregarding a warning from the Kenya Meteorological Department on July 30, 2023. The El Niño weather pattern intensified the rainy season, culminating in heavy rainfall that began in March 2024 and affected the country significantly.

“The intense heavy rainfall, which began in March 2024, struck Kenya, with the government failing to implement a timely national response plan,” KHRC added.

The commission now wants the High Court to compel the government to provide humanitarian assistance, including alternative accommodation, food, and social amenities, to people affected by floods, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

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