Solai killer dam arrest orders a laudable move
Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji’s decision to order the arrest and prosecution of Patel farm managers over the Solai Dam tragedy that killed 47 people in Nakuru County in May is laudable. Heads of government agencies that should have assessed construction of the dam and regularly monitored it to ensure safety as well as local administrators also face similar treatment.The arrest orders have been issued on the basis of investigation reports that point to these officers’ possible culpability in the disaster.Arresting and charging these businessmen and public officers is important to communicating the fact that lethal impunity of the type seen at Solai will no longer be allowed to fester among us.
Since the tragic dam burst happened on May 9 destroying property and killing tens of innocent people in their own houses, the public has been treated to accusations and counter-accusations as to who was to blame.Kenyans have been treated to the usual game in which those who should ordinarily take responsibility for such disasters blow so much smoke and dust in the air that truth becomes the one and ultimate casualty.With the impending arrests and prosecutions, an encouraging signal is being sent that it is no longer business as usual and that the life of every Kenyan, however rich or poor, does matter. That there is a price to pay for careless or wanton destruction of life and property – especially in pursuit of riches.This, we must emphasize, is only the beginning. We must stand with those who have chosen to exercise cautious optimism and hope that other segments of the justice system – especially the courts – will be diligent in their work, move with speed and do justice to the bereaved families.READ: DPP orders arrest of owner of Solai dam amid claims of threats to senatorsWith this and many other cases to come, there should be a determination not only to do justice but more importantly to make a significant proportion of the Kenyan society begin to see that justice is done.That should come in the form of sending those found guilty to jail, imposing heavy penalties, compensating the affected families for the losses incurred as well as speedily setting free those found innocent.Most important, authorities must act with diligence and ensure that responsible agencies are actively in the field doing their duty of ensuring proper licensing and inspections to prevent similar installations from turning into horrific death traps.That, in essence, is the reason the institution of government exists. For a government that cannot protect its people is not worth its name.