Chaos and flooding in Kenya over the weekend caused by heavy rains set off a blame game over corruption and public safety. In the capital Nairobi, a building collapsed, killing 23 people. Across the country, farmers were swept away, and crops and homes destroyed.
In Nairobi many are starting to blame governor Evans Kidero’s administration for poor enforcement of building codes. “This is just another serious tragedy to occur in Nairobi because of failure by the city inspectorate engineers to demolish sub-standard buildings which are risky to people,” said senator Mike Sonko, who will challenge Kidero in next year’s elections for governor. “We want the governor to take responsibility over the laxity of the department which should assure people of their safety.”
Kidero has in turn blamed the public for littering and clogging the drainage system—perhaps not the most politically astute move. ”Indiscriminate disposal of solid waste consisting of excavated soils, construction debris, and garbage onto water courses, road reserves, and sewerage system [is] restricting the proper functioning of the system,” he said yesterday.
Kidero has also admitted that corruption contributes to poorly constructed buildings in the capital. Officials have accused the city’s building inspectors of accepting bribes from real estate developers trying to bypass safety requirements to minimize costs.
Kenyans have responded:
Similar criticisms were made around this time last year when the city’s drainage system was overwhelmed by rains, but little appears to have been done since then to update the drainage system or reduce public littering.
Kenya continues to deal with the aftermath of the recent downpours. More than 800 people have been displaced because of the rains that meteorologists predict will last through June as part of the rainy season.
Early this morning (May 3), a one-year-old girl was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed six-story building in Nairobi, four days after it crumbled under heavy rains on April 29. Hopes had faded as rescue efforts yesterday yielded only more bodies in the Huruma neighborhood, a poorer area in northeastern Nairobi.