Whats the saddest about the tragedy in Solai, Nakuru County in Kenya, it is that it could have been avoided, but the common greed is the reason for the fatal dam. That it burst and hit the village. This is where the owner of the farm had put up an illegal dam called the Patel Dam, which was not legally built or constructed. It had already leaked before, but not burst. Therefore, the uncertainty was there, but nothing happen.
That the owners of the Patel Dam should answer for their illegal construction of the dam. Where the forces of water shredded lives, lives that could have had a longer life, if it hadn’t been for the greed of the Patel Coffee Estate Limited. That did this for the benefit of better farming, but dodged the law and built a dam. So that the harvest could be good. Build a cheap dam of sand and rock. Even forgetting a vital principal of having concrete as foundation of it. So that the dam has strength to oppose the currents of the water. Instead, the poor construction burst and took dozens of lives. Innocent lives who couldn’t be prepared for this. Even if there was leaks before, no one would have considered that the construction of it was this weak. That the owners had considered the possibility of it bursting.
The land was bought and renamed by the current owner, the old name was Milton Siding. That the building of this dam should have caused a stir by the Local Government in Nakuru. The Governor of Nakuru at the time, should have sanctioned the farm as the reports of the building should have been reported to his desk. The Police and the authorities should have inspected it and questioned its papers. Not to allow this sort of installation, unless he had permits and solid foundations for building it. This isn’t a tool-shack or a mere extension of a house. This is a major construction that has to follow certain technical specificity. Even the Kenyan government hire wrong people and building bad constructions, that has happen at ports and even bridges. Therefore, they should be careful to let private farmers and enterprises building dams like this.
That is why this is neglect by the government, the local government and the contractors, finally also the owners. All of them has failed the people of Solai, the Nakuru County Local Government should step-up and take blame, as they should seen this coming. They without actions, has given consent to the farm and its owner to do it. After getting knowledge of the construction, they should have informed needed authorities to stop the building of it, until the proper legal paperwork and shown the plan to safety standards. So that the public shouldn’t fear of what happen yesterday on the 9th May 2018.
The public shouldn’t be responsible for what owners tend to do on their land, they should trust that the owner has legal ability and has hired people with technical expertise to do this. Especially a project like this, building a dam and making sure the waters are steady. However, that didn’t happen here, as the foundation was built on the wrong premise. Cheap construction not built for securing the water. That is why it burst. The contractors, the owners and local government should have answers. Come up with reasons and answer in court for the deaths of innocent civilians. They are innocent people who got caught in the greed of the farmer.
That is the sad thing, that the farmer didn’t build a proper dam. He built a cheap one, that instead of thinking of consequences, only thought of profits. That is the sad reality and the authorities, should really be shaken, as they could let this happen on their watch. They are also responsible, since they didn’t take action and sanction the owner of the estate. That would have been the right thing and gotten the owner to strengthen the dam. However, that is just 20/20 and we know that didn’t happen.
We know how serious the burst is at it affected 2500 people and 500 families, as well as over 40 people are officially announced dead. All of them is too many, when this could have been avoided. They died over state neglect and lack of oversight. Peace.