Leadership, News

River Enziu Calls Us To Urgently Build Bridges

Accord­ing to Chap­ter 63 of Kenya’s Penal Code, ‘Any per­son who by an unlaw­ful act or omis­sion caus­es the death of anoth­er per­son is guilty of the felony termed manslaughter.’

This Law is clear and must be judi­cious­ly applied in address­ing the Enz­iu Riv­er bus tragedy. Some­one or some peo­ple must be held account­able for the trag­ic death of the 32 Kenyans. This is not about fin­ger point­ing or play­ing a blame game. It is about account­abil­i­ty and jus­tice. While this will not bring back those who per­ished, to whose fam­i­lies I con­vey my heart­felt con­do­lences, it will reduce the prob­a­bil­i­ty of such tragedies hap­pen­ing in future.

I ful­ly agree with the sen­ti­ments of Nyeri Catholic Arch­bish­op Antho­ny Muhe­ria when he termed the tragedy as ‘need­less and incom­pre­hen­si­ble.’ Indeed, all Kitui res­i­dents know that sea­son­al rivers flood dur­ing heavy rains. When this hap­pens, numer­ous bridges are over­run. This leads to loss of life, albeit not at the Enz­iu Riv­er scale. The Nation­al and Coun­ty Gov­ern­ments also know this. Unlike res­i­dents who can­not build bridges with their bare hands, the two Gov­ern­ments have the capa­bil­i­ty of build­ing strong, mod­ern bridges. 

How can we build sym­bol­ic, rec­on­cil­ia­to­ry bridges if we can’t even build actu­al con­crete bridges for the mil­lions of Kenyans in the low­er east­ern region? Is build­ing a bridge too expen­sive for the Gov­ern­ment to afford? No. The Infra­struc­ture Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Paul Maringa con­firmed recent­ly that the Gov­ern­ment will con­struct a prop­er Shs30-mil­lion bridge across Enz­iu Riv­er. Why wasn’t this done ear­li­er, not just across this riv­er but many oth­ers that also don’t have prop­er bridges across them? This ques­tion can­not be wished away.

The Shs 30 mil­lion that will be spent on the bridge is 2,420 times less than the more than Shs 70 bil­lion being spent on Nairo­bi Express­way. While this Express­way is absolute­ly impor­tant for our trans­port and econ­o­my, this com­par­i­son is to show that if there had been a will, we could have applied Shs30 mil­lion of our devel­op­ment bud­get to con­struct a prop­er bridge across Enz­iu Riv­er very many years ago. We need to metic­u­lous­ly unearth the sys­temic fail­ure that left the Ngu­ni-Nuu Road with no prop­er bridge across Enz­iu Riv­er. If we don’t address those sys­temic fail­ures, there will be anoth­er tragedy on anoth­er road and anoth­er river. 

There are hun­dreds of per­ma­nent and sea­son­al rivers in Kenya cov­er­ing the Lake Vic­to­ria North, Lake Vic­to­ria South, Rift val­ley, Athi, Tana, and Ewa­so Ng’iro North catch­ment areas. I can’t even tell you the exact num­ber of rivers because the data is not eas­i­ly avail­able to the pub­lic. This is in itself an indi­ca­tor of our sys­temic fail­ure. If crit­i­cal data is known only to a few tech­nocrats and aca­d­e­mi­cians, the mass­es will con­tin­ue to wal­low in igno­rance that can prove fatal. The State Depart­ment for Plan­ning should become a lot smarter in shar­ing crit­i­cal data with the Pub­lic. The start­ing point should be for them to pro­vide easy acces­si­bil­i­ty for data that will reveal to Kenyans answers to these ques­tions: How many rivers are in Kenya? How many of these rivers, whether sea­son­al or per­ma­nent, are prone to flood­ing? How many of these rivers need prop­er bridges?

Arti­cle 35 of our Con­sti­tu­tion states that ‘every cit­i­zen has the right to access infor­ma­tion held by the State and held by anoth­er per­son and required for the exer­cise or pro­tec­tion of anoth­er right.’ As a Kenyan Cit­i­zen, I am exer­cis­ing this right and call­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to avail infor­ma­tion that will answer ques­tions asked in the fore­go­ing paragraph. 

I sug­gest that we roll out a mar­shall plan of build­ing bridges in every sin­gle cor­ner of this great coun­try. The Enz­iu Riv­er tragedy has taught us that bridges are a mat­ter of life and death. That’s why ordi­nary Kenyans must make bridges their priority. 

Almost every Kenyan, irre­spec­tive of where they come from, has a tale about a shod­dy local bridge. Those low-grade bridges are time­bombs wait­ing to explode. Think green act green! 

About Dr. Kalua Green

He is the Chief Stew­ard of Green Africa Group, a con­glom­er­ate that was envi­sioned in 1991 to con­nect, pro­duce and impact var­i­ous aspi­ra­tions of human­i­ty through Sus­tain­able Mobil­i­ty & Safe­ty Solu­tions, Eco­pre­neur­ship & Agribusi­ness, Ship­ping & Logis­tics, Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Ini­tia­tives, as well as Hos­pi­tal­i­ty & fur­nish­ings sectors

Here Are The 8 Ps of Building a Values Based Nation
We‌ ‌Should‌ ‌Finally‌ ‌Make‌ ‌Political‌ ‌Parties‌ ‌Count‌ ‌in‌ ‌2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.
You need to agree with the terms to proceed