Government to establish a committee for compensation of 1998 Bomb Blast victims.

Senate Adhoc Committee Chair Machakos Senator Agnes Wavinya (centre right) and other senators chat with some of the victims. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The government will constitute a special committee to take up the process of seeking compensation for 1998 Bomb Blast victims.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Alfred Mutua said this way, the government will fully be involved to fast-track the compensation process.

“I am going set up a special unit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to deal the with this issue of compensation of bomb blast victims so that when you go there you are doing with a special office,” said Mutua.

He made the pledge on Wednesday during a session with the Senate Ad hoc Committee on compensation of the victims chaired by Machakos Senator Agnes Kavindu.

Mutua noted that his ministry will engage with the United States government on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly scheduled for September 15 this year to lay grounds for a planned meeting between the Kenyan Senate Ad hoc committee and US Senate.

“I am going to reach out to the US Senate. I want to meet the senators so that they can allow us to make our presentation to their committee that will be discussing this issue,” he said.

The nine- member committee had put Mutua to task over the measure his ministry has taken towards ensuring compensation of the victims from the American government.

“The victims have suffered many adversities throughout their lives. And it is our responsibilities as their leaders to intervene and rescue them. It is not late,” said Senator Beatrice Ogola. 

Appearing before the committee last week, Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha also promised to form a medical board to conduct medical assessment for the victims.

“I will consider constituting a medical board that will be multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary to carry out a medical assessment for the Bomb Blast survivors to enable us update records for their medical help,” she said.

Survivors and families of victims of 1998 terror attack have recently renewed compensation calls 25 years later, prompting the formation of Senate ad hoc committee to push for their justice.

During this year’s commemoration of the Al-Qaeda claimed attack, chair of the consortium of the bomb blast victims’ association Caroline Muthoka urged the U.S. Congress to review legislation and make Kenyan victims eligible for financial compensation.

The recently amended Justice for U.S Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Act in 2015 now provides for compensation of victims of state sponsored terrorism, however, the Kenyan victims of 1998 are excluded according to the current US legal frameworks.

The August 7, 1998 explosion left more than 200 dead and over 5000 others injured, leaving devastating scars to date.