Petrol looters must be punished!

Barely four months after we witnessed the worst ever tragedy where 130 people were killed in an oil tanker explosion in the Sachangwan area of Molo, another four people have perished in similar circumstances while more than 40 others are nursing wounds.

The wounds of the Sachangwan tragedy are still fresh and bleeding, emotions are still pouring, and tears and condemnation still flowing. Now, the Kericho tanker explosion is rekindling the memories of the burning flesh.

I have heard varying arguments over this matter with one school of thought advancing what they say; ‘If I am hungry and could possibly die of hunger, why cant I siphon that five litre jerrican and sell it to dilute the acid in my stomach or say why cant I take the 50-50 chance of living and make a dash for it?’

But another school differs with the above statement, they hold and which I fully support that this whole thing is about impunity by our people.

Starting from the top of the leadership crop right down to the commoners. I say impunity because Kenyans have now become a society where we defy the norm. We go against the very basic tenets on which a society is expected to stand on.

Just the other day Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta issued a directive to Cabinet Ministers and other senior government officials to surrender their fuel guzzling SUVs and limos.

The Ministers were quick to defy and said they could not imagine driving those non air conditioned, uncomfortable, low end user vehicle.

Our MPs have also been defiant for a long time and refuse to pay taxes. This culture of impunity is replicated in every sphere of our community. So it is no wonder that when the tanker rolled over we were at it again!

Despite the situation calling for empathy, the fact is that these people were engaging in an illegal activity, they were thieves who were engaging in a criminal activity at their own peril. We seem not to learn from past incidents.

It is not about hunger but it is greediness that is pushing this culture of impunity to another level.

The situation has gone out of hand and drastic measures need to be taken. I suggest that the government should send police officers to round up people who run to steal fuel during such accidents and lock them up.

The Internal Security Minister should rush with an amendment and make it an offence to scoop or siphon oil from such accidents with punishment ranging from six months to one year.

The situation is sad and calls for reflection from our society. We should follow orders and learn from our past mistakes, then such tragedies will never happen. It is time we end this culture of impunity and enjoy life in whatever form.


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