A group of women politicians from the Inua Mama outfit want President Uhuru Kenyatta to suspend Mashujaa Day celebrations scheduled for October 20 until the car that plunged into the Indian Ocean with two occupants on Sunday is recovered.
During an event at Kagunduini grounds in Kandara, Murang'a County, on Friday, the group said it is embarrassing that the government plans to hold celebrations a few meters from the scene of the tragedy.
Led by Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, they vowed to mobilise other women to camp at the scene until recovery efforts being undertaken by Kenya Navy divers at the Likoni Channel are successful.
Ms Jumwa told the President to call off the celebrations and instead join the family of Mariam Kighenda and her daughter Amanda Mutheu in mourning.
"Those who will be performing during the fete, including senior officials of Coast Guard Services and Kenya Navy, should have been fired instead," she said.
Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika criticised the government over its history of tragedy management, calling into memory the prolonged search for her staff whose helicopter crashed into Lake Nakuru in 2017.
She said that to date, the bodies of two of the five people aboard have not been found. "When the country is mourning, [Interior Principal Secretary Karanja] Kibicho rushes to social media to show how Kenya Navy is prepared to salute the President and perform during the Mashujaa Day celebrations; this is the mockery of the year. And he, together with [Transport Cabinet Secretary James] Macharia, should be fired or resign if they have integrity," she said.
She claimed that government officials who are required to handle the tragedy are holding of press conferences and boardroom meetings at the expense of search and rescue efforts.
Bomet Women Representative Joyce Korir added that the disaster should be a wake-up call for the government to come up with a detailed disaster preparedness plan.
"Going by the current happenings, government is not ready to deal with calamities. And it is high time they come up with an elaborate strategy to curb deaths that emanate from disasters in this country," she said.
On other matters, they pledged to agitate for the disbandment of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) if it does not improve its efficiency to see the increase in farmers' pay.
"KTDA must explain where farmers' money goes, and they must do so in time before we meet in Parliament," Kandara MP Alice Wahome said.
Additionally, Kiharu MP Ndindi Nyoro urged President Kenyatta to direct Treasury to write off the farmers' debts.
"Government has bailed out sugarcane, maize and coffee farmers, President Kenyatta should also direct the Treasury to bail out tea farmers."