Address challenges putting miners to risk
That a man’s body has been retrieved from a collapsed mine after seven odd months is an indictment of rescue services offered by both the national and county governments.
It is even more saddening that it had to take political campaigns for this to happen, meaning that his body would never have been retrieved if there was no election.
No government ought to allow its citizens to languish the way the man’s family has over the last seven months. Both the county and national governments had the capacity to retrieve the body, but the officials of the relevant agencies lack the goodwill to get the work done. The result is that they have traumatised the miner’s family and the message coming out of the dithering is that some citizens are not important.
That is why we hold the view that although the family will now find closure, the officials responsibility for the inordinate delay should be made to answer for their inaction. Only in this way will we engender a culture where public officials value the lives of all citizens, irrespective of their status in life.
In other jurisdictions, governments take life seriously. They go to any length to rescue survivors of disasters and, where this is not possible, to retrieve the bodies so that families – and citizens generally – can get closure from such tragedies.
In Kenya, however, officials appeared to have abandoned the search mission because the miner was trapped in mine that had been classified as illegal and one that ought not to have been operational. Be that as it may, a man died and his family sent out an appeal to have his body recovered. That plea was not heeded. It had to take political competition for something to be done.
In the same way, the families of the three young boys who were killed by bandits in Kerio Valley in May will live with the trauma, without knowing who killed their children and without ever seeing justice done. The question we must ask is; is this the country we want for ourselves? Why do public officials take so long to do what is right and necessary? What must we do to change this culture that victimises a section of the citizenry, most probably because they come from poor families and regions?
We want to applaud those who made the recovery possible although it has taken more time than it ought to. Now is the time for healing for the family and for government officials to seek solutions that will solve the economic problems that force young people to work in condemned mines.