Four die at a gold mine in Bondo as NEMA sleeps on the job

A collapsed gold mine in Bondo, Siaya County

In a swift reaction to the tragedy in Bondo, several civil society groups also accused NEMA of “sleeping on the job”, they said the “death traps” should have long been closed down

By The Weekly Vision Online

The tragic collapse of a gold mine in Bondo Siaya County that claimed several lives and left others still buried under the rubble has left area residents and Kenyans at large with no choice but heap the blame at the door of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining officials and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for “gross incompetence”.

One of NEMA‘s key functions includes initiating procedures and safeguards for the prevention of accidents, which may cause environmental degradation and evolve remedial measures where accidents occur e.g. floods, landslides and oil spills and mining accidents.

ANC party Nairobi chairman Ben Mulama said it was ridiculous for Mr Odinga to run around the country promising “free cash” while youth in his backyard were dying in collapsed mines

In a swift reaction to the tragedy in Bondo, several civil society groups also accused NEMA of “sleeping on the job”, they said the “death traps” should have long been closed down. Alliance for a Clean Environment national coordinator Joseph Kangethe challenged NEMA to immediately embark on “damage risk assessment” in all the mines. Mr Kangethe said all the mines in Ikolomani, Vihiga, Siaya and Nyatike were “tragedies” waiting to happen.

He said poverty had driven many young men into risking their lives, looking for a means of a livelihood for themselves and their families. ANC party Nairobi chairman Ben Mulama challenged former Prime Minister Raila Odinga to start his “empowerment of the youth” from Bondo his home area.

Mr Mulama said it was ridiculous for Mr Odinga to run around the country promising “free cash” while youth in his backyard were dying in collapsed mines. Charity, Mulama said starts at home and that Mr Odinga should lead by example. Thirdway Alliance party leader Dr John Ekuru Longoggy Aukot accused the former prime minister of doing little in his area despite his many years in government.

“He is a billionaire enjoying state protection what has he done for his impoverished Bondo youth dying in collapsed mines,” fumed Dr Aukot. He challenged area MP s to explain how they had spent CDF cash when they are unable to improve on conditions in the local mines. Angry Kenyans through their social media platforms also accused leaders of failing in leadership and allowing NEMA to get “away with murder”! Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga posted a Tweet accusing the government of failing to manage public resources “safely and efficiently.” He said the blood of the youth dying in “crude mining shafts” would be put on the doorsteps of local leaders and the government. Justice Mutunga further accused county governments of giving little value for millions spent by Kenyans on their salaries and allowances.

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