By Mwanzia Kasalu
Patel dam has just exploded waking up Kenyans from their handshake and 2022 slumber. This country has one big problem, corruption. As a first born whose second name is graft and surname is greed. His second sibling is incompetence, followed by mediocrity. Their godfather is tribalism. This cocktail makes sure you are kept in high strung political mode with no space to sit and evaluate where Kenya is headed.
That dam though an after thought by default was meant to wash away part of the misery around Solai. It has washed over 40 people to death and some are missing. The irony is I still have the energy to type this while waiting for a plate of hot dinner. I wonder what the people who commissioned it for use by the locals are doing now?
The dam is an earth dam. An earth dam’s embarkment is made of loose material and boulders. For those who may not know, the dam is the barrier that blocks water, the water is held in the reservoir. Now Patel dam looks like an old quarry that was run by a Patel. Ideally it was supposed to be turned into an earthfill but it seems it filled up with water and someone decided to let it be and call it a dam. The cheapest option available to save money and time.
Corruption comes in at the point where Patel was supposed to fill it up but he did not. Whoever was supposed to make sure he makes good that requirement for quarry operators knows why he looked the other way. Patel then can be termed as incompetent, another killer of dreams in this country.
Mediocrity comes where people saw water had filled a quarry, called it Patel dam and went on with their lives fetching water and watering their animals during the dry season. No one ever saw leakages if they saw it was ignores. Such accidents are not events but processes.
Condolences to those who have lost loved ones in this avoidable calamity. To County Governments, go after quarry operators and compel them to fill up abandoned quarries. If not, they should all the evaluated for safety and adjustments made. Let’s not forget about this when another County decides to buy MCAs tablets worth eight million shillings. No Kenyan should lose life because of an abandoned quarry again.