Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui has faulted the report released by the Senate committee that probed Solai dam collapse, terming it a blow to the affected residents and an example of a wasted opportunity.
The governor said the report focused on finger-pointing and took a simplistic approach to a very complex problem, instead of offering solutions.
“It joins a long list of reports which have been commissioned to investigate critical national matters, but instead dwelt on personalities,” Mr Kinyanjui said in a statement to media houses.
The committee, chaired by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior, tabled its report on the Solai dam tragedy which killed 48 people, saying it was not an ordinary disaster.
“The tragedy is a culmination of intricate and sophisticated criminal conspiracy between the owner(s) of Solai dam in cahoots with public officers, who in the proverbial hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil, turned a blind eye to an unlicensed monstrous man-made earth dam sitting 1694 metres above sea level, made of porous material, with a 30-metre mud wall, holding 300,000m3 of water and no spill way. It was a disaster waiting to happen,” the report states.
The committee conducted an in depth and detailed inquiry on the areas of concern for two months and found that the tragedy was deliberate and systemic criminal negligence by owner(s) of the dam, the Water Resources Management Authority and the National Environmental Authority (NEMA).
The committee directed the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Noordin Haji to amend the charge sheet relating to the prosecution of the Solai dam owner Perry Mansukh, demanding that additional charges related to acts and omissions contrary to laws regulating to water works be instituted.
The committee faulted Mr Kinyanjui for failure to establish and gazette the county environment committee as required by the law and ordered the Council of Governors to ensure implementation of the recommendation within three months.
But the governor said the committee had adopted a fixed mind in the probe as there was little time to listen to those invited to shed light on the matter and failed to appreciate the need for restorative justice.
“The report is loud on acts of omissions and silent on good acts by the community and the multi-agency team that handled the tragedy. It is our considered view that after all the investigations and reports, the people of Solai will require to move on with their life. There is a conspicuous silence on life-building strategy,” the governor said, even as he accused the committee of failing to appreciate the psychological state of the affected community.
“Healing of a community under trauma can be long and arduous. The creation of diversionary focus will derail the healing process of the victims and can have long term negative implications. Sensitivity in handling the matter is of utmost importance.”
He added: “Those affected are residents of Nakuru, we feel their pain and as a county we will not be distracted from our mandate. We will continue to work tirelessly to restore the livelihood of the affected community.