The Senate Committee on Energy wants residents of Thange Village in Kibwezi Sub County affected by a massive oil spillage screened for possible petroleum products poisoning.
Under the leadership of Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, the committee in a recent tour of the affected region said the spillage was a serious environmental disaster and called for thorough investigations to determine the extent of the damage caused.
The spillage occurred in May after a pipeline owned by the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) burst and leaked more than 400,000 litres of oil into River Thange and other nearby water sources for close to six months.
Accompanied by senators Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni), David Musila (Kitui) and Kimani wa Matangi (Kiambu) Senator Moi also called for compensation of the residents whose livelihoods depended on River Thange.
“Majority of the residents depend on the river for both domestic and irrigation use and now that the crops have dried they should be sufficiently compensated,” said the Baringo Senator.
He assured residents that the committee will fully probe the matter and ensure that KPC offers restitution as required.
Senator Mutula Junior regretted the incident and threatened to seek legal redress if the matter is not conclusively settled.
“This is a disaster that should not happen under the current dispensation,” said the senator.
Senators Musila and Kimani termed the spillage a violation of human rights and asked KPC to expedite the compensation to ensure that residents do not continue to suffer.
“Let KPC fast-track the compensation process and if possible by December the residents should have been compensated,”said Senator Musila.
John Mukai a resident said majority of victims of the oil spillage had developed health related problems due to consumption of the polluted water saying that quick medical interventions were required to treat the residents.
“Oil contains dangerous hydro carbons that can have long term health effects and blood samples of all affected residents should be taken and properly tested to rule out any poisoning,” said Mukai.
KPC Acting Managing Director Flora Okoth speaking at the same event expressed the company’s commitment in solving the matter.
“As a company we remain committed in ensuring that the issue at hand is fully solved,” she said .
Under the Constitution, the Senate is mandated to protect devolution. In its three years of existence, the institution has worked hand in hand with counties, to highlight their issues and also pass legislation and policies that help promote good governance at the county level.