In our collection of letters from African writers, Kenyan journalist Wahiga Mwaura says heads should roll after lethal disasters, but only a few officers appear to be held accountable.
The phrase “winners by no means stop and quitters by no means win”, coined by the late American Soccer participant and coach Vince Lombardi, might additionally describe the mentality of many Kenyan civil servants.
Not the half about being winners however moderately about by no means quitting – particularly when disasters occur below their watch.
Kenyans have been outraged by two tragedies prior to now fortnight that almost all would agree have been preventable and must have led to resignations.
As I write this, divers are being despatched to Kenya from South Africa to seek for the our bodies of a 35-year-old lady and her four-year-old daughter within the Indian Ocean.
Simply over per week in the past, the pair had been travelling on a automotive ferry in Kenya’s busy Likoni channel when their automobile slid off and sank with them inside.
It boggles the thoughts how this got here to go, contemplating that any automobiles aboard a ferry needs to be totally secured earlier than it may well set off.
It’s doable that the motive force made a mistake. Nonetheless there ought to have been a security plan in place and divers on stand-by. However there have been none.
So as to add insult to damage, the ferry firm went on to want everybody a “blessed and fruitful day” on its social media pages later that day. It angered many Kenyans.
When the administration of state-owned Kenya Ferry Providers (KFS) lastly spoke to the media on Monday, they caught to an uninspiring script about rescue efforts, however didn’t speak extra about accident prevention.
As but, the our bodies nonetheless haven’t been recovered from the ocean.
The never-quit perspective of these answerable for our ferry providers shouldn’t be peculiar in a rustic the place civil servants swagger round like ambassadors seemingly with diplomatic immunity.
Sadly, there are different examples.
A fortnight in the past, eight kids have been killed when their college constructing within the capital, Nairobi, collapsed throughout morning classes.
This incident at Treasured Expertise Prime College, a non-public day college in Nairobi, prompted nationwide and county governments to spring into motion. In typical vogue, they suspended a number of officers and ordered the demolition of different poorly constructed colleges.
However no-one appeared able to ask the robust questions: Who might have prevented this catastrophe within the first place? What about collective duty?
What we noticed was finger-pointing between regulatory companies, the native MP, the county authorities and the nationwide authorities.
And since the mother and father of the youngsters who died seem to not have the monetary means to hunt severe authorized redress, the entire incident was swiftly brushed below the carpet.
Civil servants swagger round like ambassadors seemingly with diplomatic immunity
When the privately-owned Patel dam burst in western Kenya’s Solai city final 12 months, not less than 44 individuals have been killed.
Politicians have been fast to precise their outrage, and a Water Assets Administration Authority spokeswoman stated the dam had been constructed illegally. The farm’s supervisor denied any wrongdoing.
Greater than a 12 months later, no authorities officers have misplaced their jobs and no person has been convicted for the deaths.
You might also be taken with:
And who will cry out for the 11 endangered rhinos that died final 12 months after a botched relocation try from Nairobi Nationwide Park to the nation’s greatest nationwide park, Tsavo East?
In line with Kenya’s market-leading newspaper Day by day Nation, a parliamentary committee pointed an accusing finger at Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala, saying he ought to take full duty for the deaths.
However the minister denied any wrongdoing, and handed the buck on to the companies that coordinated the relocation.
I might cite but extra examples to show my argument, that in Kenya no person in authority takes duty when issues go incorrect.
Till accountability turns into frequent apply the standard cycle will repeat itself.
Social media activist Phillip Ogola as soon as aptly captured the response of politicians to a catastrophe as follows: “Rush to the scene, condole households, donate gadgets, problem a tricky assertion, kind a fee, wait for one more catastrophe, repeat above”.
Hopefully at some point that can change.
Extra Letters from Africa