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Senators want Solai dam owner charged

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

Senators now want the owner of Solai Dam Manskul Patel arrested and charged in court over the death of 47 people.

Consequently, they also want the top officials of the Water Resource Management Authority (Warma) sacked for licensing dams that are not up to standards.

Senate’s National Security and Administration Committee members want all the six dams surrounding the area closed until it is ascertained that they are safe.

In addition, the senators want Patel to compensate all the victims of the tragedy as this was not a natural but a man-made disaster.

According to the committee, although the dam has been licensed, it exceeded the recommended measurement adding that the six other dams in the area have not been licensed.

Led by committee chairperson Yusuf Haji, the senators regretted that close to seven days later,  there are no arrests made neither has any statement been recorded.

Addressing a news conference after a site visit on Monday, the committee said the notion that the owner of the dam is yet to come out in the open because of security concern is not justifiable as police can charge him in any other court in the country apart from Nakuru county.

In particular, Haji said that it is disheartening to imagine that the owners of the dam remain free  persons yet if it was another tragedy, the government would have moved with speed and charged those responsible.

The owner of the Solai firm should be held responsible and record a statement for the damage caused. From reliable information by Warma officials on the ground, only the collapsed dam was licensed out of the seven on site,”  he said.

Haji, who was accompanied by other senators, regretted that two rivers which had been a source of livelihood in the area had been obstructed denying the communities around the neighborhood from getting water downstream.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika said based on the information so far gathered, the tragedy was as a result of negligence on the part of the owner of the dam.

She said they will not allow the owner of the dam to walk scot free yet lives were lost and asked  the police to arrest and charge him in court.

The government, Kihika said,  should also move with speed and arrest people who blocked River Mariga and Kwanguru that the residents have been relying on.

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