, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – A courtroom at the Milimani Law Courts was on Wednesday treated to free drama when Nairobi Senator Gideon Mbuvi, popularly known as Sonko, broke down and wailed hysterically after a case he had filed on behalf of the Sinai fire victims was adjourned.
Sonko, who wants the victims to get Sh25 billion compensation from the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), the County Council of Nairobi, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), wept after Justice David Majanja postponed the case to February 13.
The emotional legislator blamed the Judiciary for delaying the case for two years now, noting how the fire had destroyed the livelihoods of scores of people.
Justice Majanja was however forced to defer the case because KPC, NEMA and Attorney General Githu Muigai, who have all been named as respondents, had not yet received the witness statements.
He also said Sonko’s testimony would be heard on the newly agreed date and that all parties must be ready to proceed without fail.
Sonko, who had been accompanied by his supporters, was supposed to give his evidence on Wednesday afternoon before the judge called it off.
He asserts in his petition that residents of Fuata Nyayo, Mariguini, Mukuru Kaiyaba, Kisii village, Masaai village, Shimo la Tewa village, Hazina village, Lunga Lunga village, Donholm village and Sinai village were grossly affected by the fire outbreak.
According to the legislator the fire ruined the people’s businesses, schools, health centres and other social amenities that have made it difficult for them to cope.
He argues that the respondents were negligent and they are to blame for the fire which was caused by an oil spill on September 12, 2011, leaving 75 people dead and others seriously wounded.
The company is also being accused of negligence for having an oil pipe in the middle of the densely populated area without setting up proper fire fighting equipment.
At the time of the fire, KPC argued that the residents had illegally encroached on the land falling next to the pipeline oblivious of the arising dangers.
There were also plans to have those living next to the pipeline or other areas like railway lines and electricity masts evicted but so far nothing has been forthcoming.
Sonko at the time spoke out against this plan saying the government must first identify an alternative parcel of land to resettle these residents before evicting them.