- Reactive measures are common in Kenya. However, responding reactively to disasters tends to be more costly and less effective.
- Government officials who fail to prioritise public safety and who neglect their responsibilities must be held accountable.
Four senior officials of the National Environment Management Authority were suspended on Saturday only hours after President William Ruto called for action.
This action by Nema is too late and may be unhelpful. The explosion at the Embakasi gas plant has already killed three people and severely injured more than 300.
Such reactive measures are common in Kenya. However, responding reactively to disasters tends to be more costly and less effective.
The Embakasi fire tragedy is one in a string of tragedies that have ravaged communities across Kenya in recent years. It should serve as a wake-up call to government officials at all levels. Instead of waiting for disasters and then scrambling to respond, the relevant institutions, such as Nema, must invest in preventative measures.
This means enforcing stringent regulations for buildings and businesses, especially in densely populated areas where the risk of disasters is highest. Nema must also rout corruption in its environmental impact assessment processes.
Why would a high-risk venture, such as a gas plant, be classified as a medium risk?
Government officials who fail to prioritise public safety and who neglect their responsibilities must be held accountable. There is simply no excuse for complacency when it comes to protecting the lives and property of Kenyan citizens.
Quote of the Day: “After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say ‘I want to see the manager’.”
William S Burroughs
The American writer and visual artist was born on February 5, 1914