MP Gachobe, activists to appeal court verdict in Solai dam case

Subukia MP Samwel Gachobe has faulted Naivasha court presiding chief magistrate Kennedy Bidali over decision to acquit nine suspects in the case against manslaughter of 48 lives that were lost during the Solai dam tragedy.

Addressing media on Monday, the Legislator disagreed with the decision and promised to appeal the verdict.

According to Gachobe, he will as well engage the National Assembly through a petition to seek compensation of the Solai Dam tragedy victim.

“I disagree with the verdict and we shall be appealing to ensure justice for the victims. As area MP I will also engage the National Assembly through a petition to ensure justice” said Gachobe.

Similar sentiments expressed by residents and victims of the infamous Solai Dam tragedy in Subukia Sub County.

They expressed their frustrations by the corridors of justice and even declined to speak to press arguing that their stories have been highlighted severally but no justice.

According to them, the ruling and reasons behind the verdict is a clear indication that the government was not whatsoever committed to ensuring the victims have been compensated and their lands rehabilitated despite losing family and friends.

Sentiments shared by Nakuru Human rights defender Robert Njenga terming the Niavasha Court ruling as ‘nothing less of travesty of justice’.

According to the activist, in September 2019, the accused persons (Patels) filed plea bargain for them to compensate the victims.

ODPP was in the process studying the plea bargain and were to go back to court on 3rd December 2019.

He adds that on 3rd December, 2 things happened- One, they (human rights defenders) filed an application to watch brief for the victims. Secondly, Hon. Bidali observed that there were several affidavits that he could not understand.

Njenga adds that Bidali ruled that they be served all the parties with the application and file a list for all the victims and he fixed the matter for 20th January 2020 where he was to rule on the application.

The activists went to court on 20th January and the court was not sitting hence 3rd February 2020 was set for the said ruling on their application but that did not happen.

“What happened today really surprised us. First, he was to deal with our applications which he did not. Secondly, the accused persons had not made an acquittal application as they were waiting for the ODPP reply to their plea bargain. Accusing ODPP of not attending the matter is unfounded and not true” said Njenga.

While noting that as human rights defenders they will on behalf of the victims be working with the ODPP on appeal, he added that they we will seek audience of the judicial service commission.

It will be noted that on Monday after the ruling DPP Noordin Haji expressed his interest of appealing the same case citing that from the word go, his office had reasons and will of transferring the case from Naivasha.