Ruto: I'll take action against owner of gas plant killed three

President William Ruto speaks during the groundbreaking ceremony of Chekalini ESP Market in Lugari, Kakamega County. [Hiram Omondi, PCS]

President William Ruto has vowed to take firm action against the owner of the illegal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) that exploded on Thursday night killing at least three in Embakasi, Nairobi.

More than 300 people were injured and hundreds of residents of Mradi Estate in Embakasi East constituency.

“The government officials who licenced the firm inside a residential area did it fraudulently and must be fired and prosecuted. I have already asked the Ministry of Petroleum to sack them immediately for endangering the lives of Kenyans,” Ruto said in Chekalini, Kakamega North.

The President regretted that the officials went ahead to bend the laws well aware such a project was not supposed to be in a residential area.

Ruto, who will end his four-day tour of the western region today, at the same time vowed to stick to his development agenda on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Housing Levy and help Kenyans secure jobs in foreign countries despite a stay by the court and protests from the opposition and civil rights groups.

“It is the responsibility of the government to create employment for its people and ensure they access affordable healthcare. I have initiated the affordable housing programme to create jobs yet the opposition is in court to stop it. What do they want when Azimio also has the affordable housing option in their manifesto?” the President said.

The Head of State who was accompanied by National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetang’ula, Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa and a host of MPs, called on the region which voted overwhelmingly for Raila Odinga in the last election, to forget their political differences and work for the good of the people.

Wetang’ula said disunity among Western leaders has cost their bargaining power through successive governments urging them to consider working as a team.

Atwoli said he was instrumental in “denying Ruto votes” in Khwisero and the larger Kakamega but said now that elections are over, "it is time to work with the government of the day to help bring development to the grassroots".

He said the President had also treated workers’ issues with decorum and had attended all the major functions of COTU which they requested him to attend.

“If Raila visits, slaughter a hen for him but you also have to work with the one who holds the country’s resources,” he told the locals in Khwisero.

Governor Barasa asked Ruto to help construct roads in Lugari, including C 44, Turbo-Sikhendu-Barpato, Mbande-Makhukhuni-Sivilie- Buheri and Luandeti-River Nzoia.

Barasa was speaking when President Ruto launched the construction of Chekalini market alongside National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula, Lugari MP Nabii Nabwera, MCAs and a section of leaders.

In Ikolomani, the County boss urged the government to help upgrade the Ikolomani-Lunza Market road, Ombwaro Junction-Doho-Dudi road and Ikonyero-Jamindas-Shimanyiro- Mairo wa Akatsa.

 The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party Secretary General Cleophas Malala begged the locals to vote for Ruto as he meant well for the Luhya community.

Earlier, Maseno North Diocese Bishop Emeritus Simon Oketch urged President William Ruto to apologize for government’s demolition of houses in Milimani Estate Block III in Kakamega Town.

He said this during an interdenominational prayer service held in the town, adding that most of the affected were innocent buyers who should not bear consequences.

The bishop who ha hosted the President during his numerous religious visits in Kakamega since his time as deputy president said the government should consider compensating the affected families for the loss and stop further demolitions.

The government has been on a demolition spree in the prestigious estate bringing down houses to pave the way for the establishment of Ruto’s pet project of affordable houses.

President Ruto is winding his four-day tour in western today and has so far not mentioned a word in relation to the project or the demolitions largely confining his speech to the sugar debates.