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Sunday, February 01, 2009

It's Been A Week of Death And Horror Here At Home

No, God is not punishing Kenyans like I heard some preachers say. Why would He? The God I know has never held poverty against those who are in that situation. What happened at Nakumatt was an accident whose impact would have been tremendously minimized had people been trained to deal with such emergencies. What I still find troubling was that thousands of curious wananchi actually stood right within the area of the ravaging inferno even as the gas tanks exploded right in front of them. How could it be that they didn't sense the present and active danger they were exposing themselves to? And how can it be that my fellow Kenyans could expose themselves to the deadly fumes emanating from the burning building?

I'm still stunned.

The Sachangwan tragedy is easier to explain. Over there, it was a case of poverty-stricken Kenyans trying to lay hands on some badly needed mafuta at home. My heart goes out to them for running right into a death trap. The sad thing is that these two tragedies within a week, coming so soon after the horrible weeks we've had with the incessant bangles and irresponsible behaviour of our politicians and corporate heads, has left Kenyans with a sense that something has gone gravely wrong. Indeed, it's because of this sense of a gathering storm that some preachers are tempted to think God is not happy with us.

Not so.

To say it like it is, there are tragedies that however prepared we make ourselves will always catch us off guard. Accidents happen. However, I still think the Nakumatt leadership must be charged with criminal negligence and made to pay for the lives that were lost unnecessarily by the reckless behaviour of some of their guards. Just how stupid were these guards? How could they block people who were running for dear life? The fact Nakumatt could hire such idiots is enough to charge them and make them take responsibility for their actions.

As for the tankers, I'm speechless. Those monsters are all over the place, cruising down the streets, even within the cities, with their deadly cargo. We simply have no road-network designed to keep these monsters from residential and city premises. So is there anything the government can do to minimize trouble? To begin with, it would be prudent if a massive safety campaign is launched. Kenyans must be told to keep away from fires. As soon as smoke is detected, folks have no more than five minutes to get out of danger. Don't think of your kipande or birth certificate or your boom box which you just brought home. Think of your life.

Run!

That said, I was gratified to see the leaders of the nation out there with wananchi. And you could see the strain and pain in some of them. I hope the images they saw at Nakumatt and Sachangwan goad them to take actions that will keep Kenyans safe in the face of accidents of the kind we've had to deal with.

My condolences to all the families who've lost loved ones, and may the Lord have mercy on us if those preachers should be right.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

sam first it was rain now fire!

Anonymous said...

Is God mad at Kenyans, Mr. Okello?

Anonymous said...

Free advice to you bwana Okello, stop trying to 'read' Gods mind coz its just stupidity...stick to your gutter analysis of Kenyans morons of politicians and give blasphemy a wide berth. Since you plan to be a politician, think solution silly, we know what happened in both accidents, its all over silly!!!
talk workable solutions not telling people to run from smoke while they cook with fire wood...

okello, what is this post all about? its so stale, no concrete theme, just mouthings ODM style...

NEWS
Molasses begs Kannan to spare Ruto the Hague Express trip!!
what a loser!!!

Anonymous said...

Bwana Okello:

If we are to clean up Kenya, we must look everybody in the eyes and say it as it is.

I genuinely sympathize with the Nakumatt victims who lost their lives in a terrible accident which could have been prevented.

As to the victims of Sachangwan tanker fire, I have my reservations. While I don't think they deserved to die, they, however, died doing an inherently evil and criminal act - they were stealing. Whether they were motivated by poverty or not I don't know, but I doubt it because they were calling friends on cell phones and riding motorbikes to come and scoop "free" stuff. What I know for sure is that their behaviour, at a small scale, eptomizes what is wrong in Kenya. This idea that someone can simply use his/her position or accidents or chaotic circumstances to take off with something that doesn't belong to them must come to an end. If it takes Hague to stop the big dogs, so be it. And if it takes a horrible accident like this to stop the folks at the mashinani level, so be it, too.

It is so common to see people loot maize and cause hunger and we line-up for handouts from them. And it is so common to see ordinary folks pickpocket dying victims of road accidents and we laugh it off.

The time is up. Something must give. And if it takes a Hague or a roadside inferno, so be it!

Anonymous said...

Okello,

kenyans will never solve their problems as long as you and your fellow preachermen keep them hooked to this deadly superstition of a personal god who intervenes in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Sam,

Allow me to digress and bring to light what is motivating our PM t petition Kofi Annan with respect to PEV Tribunal.

The Hague versus local tribunal sweepstakes are in full gear. While many like Chris are focussing on Uhuru, it appears panic has swept through Raila's advisers and that explains why he was freelancing in Davos persuading Kofi Annan to extend the local tribunal establishment deadline.

Ruto has checkmated Raila. Immediately the Raila-sympathetic MPs blocked the tribunal bill in parliament, Ruto, once again, reminded Raila that in some instances he is on tape uttering in 2007 some words that imply his desire for Kikuyus to be ethnic-cleansed from RV. At some point during January 2008 violence Raila ordered money to be paid so that "Kikuyus can be taught a lesson." It appears Ruto has Raila by the balls because of the evidence he claims to have. This is supported by Ruto's public swagger and snippets by those around him. The problem is that Raila's camp doesn't know how much admissible evidence Ruto possesses. Lately, the famous Raila's brain trustees have advised their boss to do whatever it takes not to let the matter be tried in a venue where Raila has no potential control. Their belief is that in Kenya they can use PM's office and local networks to achieve two objectives: (1) protect the image of the PM, and (2)cause Ruto sufficient political damage even if he escapes prison without being seen as if they are destroying a favorite son/warrior of RV. So, under no circumstance will Raila allow the process to move to Hague.

Contrary to what many political prognosticators are saying, Raila's camp doesn't, for now, care a hoot as to what happens to Uhuru. They still believe that he is still of "sentimental" value. They also believe that in an eventual one-on-one contest between Raila and Kalonzo, Raila can outflank Kalonzo one more time. They consider Ruto a wild card and a "must-deal-with" obstacle between them and State House.

They consider him a wild card because they are not sure whether he will be in their corner during the presidential contest. They think he is too ambitious and uncontrollable. Ruto's side believes Raila's side is out to get him. They point at numerous occassions Raila has tried to establish alternative centres of political influnce in RV, Ruto's back yard. Matters have not been helped by Raila's supporters who, occasionally when drunk, carelessly let it be known that "Jakum will one day have Ruto behind bars." Both sides have reason to worry.

Raila's brain trustees believe Ruto is a "must-deal-with" obstacle because they have worked with him and know his abilities. He is a ruthless and tireless political tactician - to the point of being a conviction politician. Unlike Kalonzo, he has the money and he is ready to use it to achieve his goals. Lately, what keeps them awake at night is the knowledge that Ruto is talking to some Mt. Kenya power brokers and they don't know what is being talked about. They are grappling in the darkness and they hate it. They are so sue that Ruto will tip the balance in the next preidential elections that panic has set in.

As a result, among Raila's handlers, it has come down to this: If Ruto is unwilling to tip the balance in their favor then he must be put out of commission politically. Hence, the urgency to do whatever it takes to have a local tribunal where the police can be corrupted and witnesses either bought or made to disappear in an effort to de-commission Ruto without leaving political fingerprints.

Anonymous said...

Sam Okello,

While you are grieving for the dead, please take care of your security in Kenya if you trully intend to run for president. Phil has repeatedly on KK promised that ati mutaonana. These are not idle threats and are not coming from a member of a democratic party either. To be forewarned is to be fore-armed.

If you are serious with the presidential run, good luck and welcome to Murang'a; we would like to hear what you have to say especially with regard to healing the crippling Luo-Kikuyu rift.

Joe said...

To begin with, it would be prudent if a massive safety campaign is launched. Kenyans must be told to keep away from fires. As soon as smoke is detected, folks have no more than five minutes to get out of danger. Don't think of your kipande or birth certificate or your boom box which you just brought home. Think of your life

Mr Okello, i think you under estimate the intelligence of Kenyans. Everybody knows not to joke with fire. My take is the Nakumatt fire is a case of criminal negligence on the part of both the government and Nakumatt. The government because similar incidences have happened before, but no lesson seems to have been learned, and Nakumatt because there was simply no fire escape.

In the case of the Nakuru fire, the poor folks understood the risk they were taking very well. They figured it was worth taking instead of another night without food. I don't see how educating them would have helped.

Shiko-Msa said...

Ati Kenyans must be told to keep away from fires Lol.

Anonymous said...

The majority of those who perishe were, as alleged, inside a public bus and another school children inside a vehicle that got caught up in the mess. They couldnt escape from the bus, plus two other vehicles, including a man who was found to be in chains inside one of the vehicles(wonder why in chains and where he was being taken), so not good to categorise the entire group as having been involved in criminal and evil activities.

Plus imagine the same scenario if it happened in your local village, would your distant relatives and some of your acquintances acted differently? There is a huge problem in Kenya, even on the way people use common sense.

For example, why does a driver manning a vehicle with kids stop at such a dangerous place to see?

How can somebody be in peace scooping a river of flowing petrol at the centre of the mighty stream?

People here died deaths of utter negligence by others, or mere ignorance, failure to use common sense, not criminal or evil intent as such.

My heart goes for all of them and their families. It is too sad.

It also reminds me to watchout wherever I am, to use common sense and to always be alert, for both my actions and those of my neighbours and those near me.

Anonymous said...

The tragedies are a blessing to Kibaki and Raila and their co-theives and killers in the Coalition rot.

The stupid Kenyans have quickly forgotten the earlier evils and the hot topic is the fire tragedies.

I keep praying for such a tragedy to strike when Parliament is full to capacity - during State openening of Parliament - so God wipes all those mother-fuckers from face of the earth. That's surest way to save ourselves from carrying burden of those thieves.May God hear my prayers. The fat thieves should have died in place of the poor Nakumatt and tunker victims.

Anonymous said...

The GSU officers were selling petrol. They allowed those who could part with a Sh100 BRIBE to fetch petrol from the overturned tanker. Those who refused to pay THE BRIBE were violently chased away

The police dared onlookers to do as they pleased as they pocketed the BRIBES from those siphoning petrol.

I would just like to ask this question - I agree that the people who partook of the oil were STEALING, there's no politer way of putting it - Who was the figure of AUTHORITY in this scenario? Answer: The Police/GSU guys. Now, what were they doing? THEY WERE DEMANDING BRIBES TO "ALLOW" PEOPLE TO STEAL THE OIL while daring onlookers with their "Mta-do" attitude. Do these two words, CORRUPTION and IMPUNITY, ring a bell here? They sure do

This is how Kenya has been run since 1963 and that's why we are in this big mess we are in.

Kibaki worshipers/sycophants/supporters will tell us that the country is enjoying superb leadership under Kibaki and that the economy is growing in leaps and bounds...... This is nonsense. They are living in denial. Kenya is in deep shit; Kibaki is SLEEPING ON THE JOB AS THE COUNTRY WOBBLES FROM ONE PUMBAVU CRISIS TO ANOTHER.... you just wait, another one is bound to burst onto the scene very soon.

Anonymous said...

Sam,

How do you feel now that is official Kisumu is the sodomy capital of Kenya with over a third of residents prefering a man-to-man sexual orientation? Just imagine homosexual activity is common in Kisumu as it is San Fransisco.

Man, this is serious we are talking about Sodom and Gormorrah right in front of our noses.
Another fire???

kwani wajaluo ni wajinga namna hii?

Sam Okello said...

I understand the sentiments of those who feel the folks in Nakuru deserved what they got. Still, it makes me shuddder to imagine people dying under such horrible circumstances. Besides, isn't it easy to see that poverty drove them to risk their lives as they did? And what should we say about that crowd at Nakumatt? Folks, we have to tell Kenyans that fire is dangerous. It may sound simplistic, but that's the point to start at. What I saw makes me believe there is no other option. You see fire, run!

Anonymous said...

Sam I asked if God is mad at us.

Mwarang'ethe said...

To understand what happened at Nakumatt, there is need to appreciate that there are three different ways of regulating so as to avoid accidents.

The three approaches are:

(a) Market based regulation. This is what Wall Street has been championing. We have see the outcome.

(b) Rule based regulation. This is the stage Kenya is in. This system tells the industry what they must and not do. We have seen that in a number of incidents, this system does not work as well.

The failure of this system was also evident in the SEA GEM, EKOFISK BRAVO PLATFORM accidents as well in the BRENT SPAR SAGA in the North Sea.

It was as a result of the failure of this system in the North Sea, we now have the new and better approach discussed below.

(c) New approach to risk regulation.

The new approaches involve responsive and reflexive approaches.

Although UK had been aware of the failure of the rule based regulation system, as shown above, it did nothing about it.

However, when Piper Alpha platform exploded on 6th July, 1998, killing 167 people, UK, had no choice but to abandon the rule based risk regulatory approach.

Thus, we believe the problem lies in the REGULATORY ORIENTATION we have adopted. This needs to be overhauled.

However, as usual, our so called leaders seem not to have any idea what to do.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.49am,

god will not hear your prayers because a god who answers prayers does not exist. "religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful" seneca the younger (bce 4 to ce65). Not even the genius Karl Max would have put it better.

Anonymous said...

ook Just How Much We Know!
Posted: February 2, 2009, 12:34 pm by Shiko-Msa

From the Standard today in regard to the Nakumat and Salgaa fires.

* In most towns, oil tankers are often parked on the roadside, a danger to passersby, shoppers, and other motorists. Children are often the most exposed to danger as they play a few meters from the tankers.

* In Mombasa residents have complained that most fuel tankers are packed in residential areas either for washing or siphoning of fuel.

* It has become the norm for people to rush for free fuel whenever a tanker is involved in an accident, oblivious of the risks involved, says Internal Security Minister George Saitoti.

* The country has no laws restricting/regulating the movement of oil tankers and trucks, transport industry players say.

* In 2006, a local trailer maker introduced tankers which enhanced safety features that do not allow fuel spills in case of accidents. Called the Safety Plus, the tankers are fitted with valves underneath that snap off in case of an accident and trap the fuel inside the container.

* Driver fatigue is to blame for most accidents involving trucks.

* Accident disaster scenes should be cordoned off.

* We should reduce the amount of Fuel transported by road.

* In March, 2006, a draft proposal called ‘Fire Safety Management Policy of Kenya’ was to be discussed and adopted by the Cabinet. The document still remains a draft to date.

* Most public service vehicles do not have emergency exit doors.

* Kenyans are ill-prepared to deal with fire emergencies, experts say.

* The Physical planning Act is stringent but building managers alter plans once they’re issued with building certificates. Years later, managers alter the buildings later to suit their businesses. In the Nakumat fire, government head of operations at the site said the supermarket’s exit doors were permanently blocked.

So we actually know all that?

Other than the fires, condolences to the family of Madaraka Karisa who lost his wife and 4 children in a road accident at Makindu on January 19th. They were laid to rest on Saturday.

And let’s not forget the corruption scandals currently rocking the country. The perpetrators might be taking advantage to cover their tracks now that the nation’s attention is turned to the fire disasters.

Anonymous said...

U r having fire, we r having the heaviset snowfall for decades.

No schools No work here in London. No trains, tubes or buses throughout London.
If u r planning to travel to any London airports, most flights are cancelled too.

It feels like Siberia in London today.

Anonymous said...

Bw.Okello
I join you in mourning those who perished in these tragedies(and to be included on the hall of burning fame is another busia tragedy (unconfirmed though)a few minutes ago-35 dead apparently in a sugar plantation!)Needless to add,our society has decayed to an extent that quite a number of people believe that telling them that they've got to keep from killing themseves is in itself an infringment of ones'rights!whether its the level of poverty or simply curiosity that has driven us to this level can only be diagnosed by our good old Dr Murinyo!(HOPE I GOT THE SPELLIN CORRECTLY).Irecall that before the 98 bomb blast i happened to be passing at kencom bus stop when i found a huge crowd staring up at kencom hse.on asking what was happening one curious guy whispered to me that there was a bomb inside the building and that bomb experts with sniffer dogs had been dispatched into the building!clearly he and many of us had never experienced the effects of a bomb blast.come 98 at the American embassy and i found out that most of the victims were curious kenyans some caught running towards the bomb site!Fast forward to thge kiambu petol tanker explosion in 2003,the sidindi(siaya)tanker episode and now the molo one and one thing is common-curiosity na njaa babaa!coming to the Nakumatt tragedy i happened to pass there on the fateful day and concur with Okello,the surrounding place was packed with curious onlookers who would momentarily 'duck' at the sound of the explosions oblivious of the coloured toxic fumes emanating from within!This is our society.Turning to the government the policy makers have allowed thousands of people to die and many more injured in the name of ideology!i WILL ELABORATE:In this country you need a licence to drive dont you?you also need a helmet to drive a motor cycle,you also have to observe caution when approaching a zebra crossing etc etc.These laws din't require a memorandum.why is it then that the government can allow some people to complain that it(government)is interfering with their right to go out and kill themselves if they so choose?These are necessary laws and rules for any civilized society.we need to tell our drivers,for example that driving is not a right but a privillege and like all privilleges comes with responsibilities.Have you observed that seat belts in most psv's are only 'worn' when a cop is spotted?-from the driver to tha pax(oh how i miss michuki).interestingly some people have even argued that cigarette smoking is a private affair and one can choose whenever or wherever he or she feels like.the courts have even given them leeway.remember alcoblow which was outlawed by our courts?Isnt it common sense that drunk driving increases road carnage?how long can we let this happen?what the government forgets is that the damage caused by all the above increases our taxes,increases insurance premiums and finally harms us and our loved ones.if that is not an intrusion on my freedom, i dont know what is.In conclusion kenyans should be told that those who rush to try and kill themselves will be arrested if suspected!lets stop this stupidity ati get rich quick or die trying!

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:04 AM,

You have spoken very well. I'd just like to add that all these crazy things and behaviors happening in Kenya are, if you will, some of the chickens coming home to roost as a result of our continuous indiscipline, bad manners and lack of any positive values.

Lets go back in the history of our country:

In 1963 when Kenya attained independence, it had a God given chance take the country and it's people in the direction of prosperity and discipline (moral and financial). Alas this did not happen. Kenyatta and his homeguard sycophants decided that all that mattered was satisfying their "stomachs," hence the PRIMITIVE and MINDLESS AQUISITION OF WEALTH BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE (CORRUPTION, LOOTING, FRAUD, DECEPTION and OUTRIGHT THEFT) by the Kenyatta ruling elite. Anyone who came in their way was considered a threat and either eliminated or heavily persecuted. Here I have people such as Pio Gama Pinto, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Bildad kaggia and J.M Kariuki in mind.

When Kenyatta died, Moi took over and instead of taking the country back on the right track, he followed Kenyatta's footsteps: The PRIMITIVE and MINDLESS AQUISITION OF WEALTH BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE (CORRUPTION, LOOTING, FRAUD, DECEPTION and OUTRIGHT THEFT) at the expense of everything else.

After Moi time was over, Kibaki was elected with a resounding majority in 2002. What did he do? He BETRAYED US BIG TIME. He followed Moi's footsteps. To make things even worse, he had to STEAL the election of Dec '07 so that

a) He could cover up his tracks.

and

b) He and his sycophants could continue with the PRIMITIVE and MINDLESS AQUISITION OF WEALTH BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE (CORRUPTION, LOOTING, FRAUD, DECEPTION and OUTRIGHT THEFT) at the expense of everything else.

Now, with the above in mind, lets come back to the immediate present chilling times. Is it a wonder that Kenya is swimming in these endless crisis' one after another; tragedies one after another? It is not a surprise. THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST.

Until we Kenyans improve on our values and morals, we are just going to continue to reap these endless crisis' and tragedies.

Anonymous said...

This peculiar Kenyan behaviour was observed long ago and one particular writer even christened this behaviour the 'starecase on our roads'.An accident happens on one lane of a dual carriageway and a traffic jam stretching several kilometres forms including the side which has both lanes clear.On reaching the accident scene,you find the road ahead is as clear as a runway.You then wonder what is the cause of the traffic jam you have just sweated through and realise its the drivers who are slowing down not to help or offer assistance but to just STARE at the accident.And Kenyans were up in arms when one CEO said Kenyans have peculiar habits.

Anonymous said...

Okello,

The amount of time you and Phil waste writing gibberish and hallucinations here, you could use it to educate your fellow jaluos fools that AIDS is ravaging your entire community due to Ushoga in Luoland.

It is now official, Kisumu is the gay capital of Kenya! Cooks, cleaners, gardeners et al give their backsides to their masters for extra cash.

Between 1995-2001 homosexual activists managed to recruit masses in Kisumu with the message "its cool to be gay". And many believed it!! Now you are reaping what they sow.

Devil want to destroy family values of your community while you and your ilk here are busy throwing stones at anyone you don't worship RAO.
WAKE UP!

Anonymous said...

Kenyans should be taught on how to run away from Fire!...hahaha, that is the funnies things I have readed today.
Sam Okello if your planning to be president is that what you will teach kenyans to avoid fire?

Hii ni ujinga!

Mama said...

Well, another fuel tanker overturned in Nakuru today and wananchi were running towards it with all manner of jerrycans and containers. What do you call that if its not foolishness?

Sam Okello, I don't buy this story of people stealing from accident scenes because of poverty.

Poverty does not make people lose their humanity! I have heard of stories of beer trucks overturning injuring the driver and the turn boy but people rush to drink the beer! Others engage in the business of robbing accident victims blind...is that classified as poverty as well?

It is lack of morality my dear, which we are totally getting punished for.

Sayra said...

Unlike most of you i was disgusted to see the leaders of the nation with the wananchi. This coz most of those who burned were wananchi on a 'stealing' mission. They went to show solidarity ... in what for now i would rather keep to myself.

The distorted priorities of our leaders never seize to shame. People who suffer doing questionable, shameful deeds get all the attention and are taken to get the best medical care (are cheered on, loved, defended, etc) ... while in the same vicinity there are those that are still languishing out of the cuts and burns they got in the same period inflicted by their neighbours exactly one year ago and they have not been paid even a dime for their medical needs.

We then come here shamelessly to say that God has abandoned us ... alaa!!!
There is something called the law of cause and effect ... my humble request is that you give it your earnest study. Then most of you will spare us the nonsense of been abandoned by God.

God never abandons anybody ... never.

Anonymous said...

According to the Bible, the Sodomites saw their city destroyed by God because their morals were deemed too perverse.

Is Kisumu heading the same way with more than a third practicing sodomny and 25% practising lesbianism?
This is shocking, and many people have been shocked by these revelations including UN who published this report.

We need somebody to stand up against this kind of immorality in our country.

JaLuos, don't turn away from traditional values or from christianity due to pressures from perversed western values. This is a dangerous perversion.

Let those who have ears hear.

Anonymous said...

Even the sick Rucy found out that it was the stupidity of the minister.

We have such stupid 42 ministers who dont know their duties. An emergency is not shooting innocent Wanainchi. Thats what Michuki and Saitoti know. In a civilized world, Saitoti would have long resigned.

Kenyan elites are only sharp in stealing money, nothing else.

It is time we thought deeply how to introduce civilization in our education.

papa plus said...

Lucy is right, sought off and in a half baked way. The problem is systemic with the entire administration. Corruption, famine leaves the GK broke and such calamities will occur several feet from fire houses and still go unmitigated. So while we need civil education, it should not only be on emergency and safety alerts but also on our rights as citizens, ensuring our votes count and holding the government responsible, and making sure chaps are not recycled back into government ala Kimunya, Saitoti, Kalonzo and a bunch of other fellows who have showed time and time again that they are incapable of delivering on tasks bestowed upon them.

So am not surprised at such events. Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

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