Solai dam victims still crying for justice

Victims of the Solai Dam tragedy in Nakuru County which claimed 47 lives on the night of May 9, 2018,
are still crying for justice after a court case and compensation negotiations seem to be dragging

They are asking the Indian investor Mr. Patel, after whom the collapsed dam is named, to swallow his
pride and own up to lose of lives and disruption of livelihoods and offer handsome compensation to
settle the matter once and for all.

Speaking for the victims in championing the cause, area Member of County Assembly (MCA) Peter Mbae
says what they want is peace with Patel who they are asking to come to the negotiating table to strike a
compensation deal.

Patel wants the matter taken out of court, but is at the same time reluctant to settle the compensation
issue with the local people.

Dr. Mbae told journalists on the sidelines of a meeting in Nairobi that the case before the Nakuru High
Court has dragged because some people in government want to hijack the process for personal gain.

He accused National Construction Authority (NCA), National Environment Management Authority
(Nema) and Water Resources Management Agency (Warma) for standing between the victims and Mr.
Patel, frustrating amicable negotiations.

The Kabazi Ward MCA said the case saw Mr Patel and eight other co-accused charged with murder but
‘somehow’ got acquitted, now gunning for the return of the Patel dam.

Nema, NCA and Warma are said to be for the reconstruction of the dams against the will of the
residents, who say it could be a recipe for similar calamities in the future.

The MCA noted the matter could have been resolved long time ago, but ‘cartels’ around Patel have
protracted it to last three years, thinking they would gain from it in one way or another.

Furthermore, some items donated by both levels of government and Kenyans of goodwill have not
benefited the victims, according to Dr. Mbae who claimed thousands of iron sheets meant for rebuilding
homes are still locked up somewhere. He asked the County Commissioner to order them released to
intended beneficiaries for reconstruction.

An estimated 380 households are angling for compensation from Patel totaling up to Ksh400M
according to the MCA.

“Rivers should be allowed to flow, if Patel wants dams let him drill boreholes,” said the MCA. “All we
want is justice and fairness.”

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