Kenya First Lady raps leaders over tragedy

February 2, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 2 – First Lady Lucy Kibaki on Monday accused political leaders of being insensitive to the plight of Kenyans.

She said the Saturday accident involving an oil tanker in Molo, where 122 people have so far died and scores of others seriously wounded, would not have happened if there was civic education.

“I was angry because this is something that could have been avoided. Previously these things have happened and they are ignored by the people in charge,” she asserted.

“I say here they ignore because they do nothing about it. If the first one happened, why should a second one, a third and a fourth one happen?” she posed.

Speaking after she visited victims of the inferno admitted to the Kenyatta National Hospital, the First Lady said Kenyans were ignorant of the dangers posed by petrol because of lack of information.

“I was angry with Minister (George) Saitoti (Internal Security) yesterday when I saw him on TV. All he had to say was ‘I hope this tragedy will teach you a lesson’.”

“How can dead people be taught a lesson, they are already dead! I reply to him, we will learn when you come to us and give us civic education,” the First Lady emphasised.

She also challenged Mr Saitoti to explain to her in writing by Tuesday why his Ministry had not conducted any civic education to avert such accidents.

“It is his responsibility to mobilise the administrative officers to sensitise Kenyans. This was an accident because of ignorance; ignorance because our people have been neglected for so long by their leaders and it is very sad,” she said.

At the same time, she challenged legislators to stop empty rhetoric and act on the food crisis.

“Shame on those MPs whose children are dying because of collecting wild fruits. Take your salary there, buy your people food,” she dared.

“Where are the leaders when the children are eating poisonous wild fruits and vegetables and dying in big numbers?” she questioned.

She said leaders should give the food crisis situation the attention it deserved.

“How can you eat and be able to sleep when your neighbour is hungry? Don’t give us empty talk that we will bring maize, we will do what. I get pained to hear that people are dying of hunger. These are not animals, these are Kenyans!”

Meanwhile, the Kenya Red Cross Society has put up a blood donation tent outside the US Embassy bomb blast memorial site along Moi Avenue where people can donate blood.

In a press statement, Acting Communications Manager, Titus Mung’ou said this followed the Nakumatt supermarket and Molo fire tragedies.

Mr Mung’ou said people could also donate blood in various Kenya Red Cross Regions and Branches countrywide, as well as designated blood donor facilities.

“Kenya Red Cross appeals to members of the public to donate blood to assist victims of the two fires. The Kenya Red Cross tracing tent at the Stanley Hotel is still operational and people who may have lost their relatives or friends following the two fire tragedies can report the cases to the desk officers,” the statement said in part.

Public Health Minister Beth Mugo said on Sunday that about 1,000 units of blood were required for those admitted to hospital.


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