Residents decry Kenyatta land quarry deaths
A farm owned by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family has turned into a death field for Mwiki residents.
The property is dotted by more than 15 open quarries filled with water, some as deep as 100 feet.
The quarries managed by Gituamba Stones Ltd, associated with the family, have in the last three years claimed five lives and on Wednesday a fifth was added to the tally.
Though Eleven-year-old Lewis Mwangi’s body is yet to surface, he is believed to have drowned in one of the dams nicknamed ‘Kenyatta’.
His friends David Karanja and Peter Waimonde, both 10 said they were playing close by when the standard four pupil at Glorias Vision Academy developed the urge to swim.
“We were playing when he suggested we go for a swim. We were reluctant, but he went ahead and took off his clothes and dived in,” said Waimonde.
A county government search team had not retrieved Mwangi’s body by Thursday evening.
The incident has renewed calls for the fencing of the land as angry residents threatened to ensure that no quarrying takes place on the land.
Joyce Ngugi, a mother said the vast farm had been a threat to the security and safety of the residents.
She said that they had repeatedly called for its fencing, of the gaping dams, some only 50 metres from residential houses in Mwiki, but their calls had gone unheeded.
Mwiki location chief Christine Ndemba said: “When it rains, the banks cave in and one can easily fall into the water as they walk on the narrow paths in the farm,” said Ms Ndemba.
The farm, added the administrator has become a heaven for armed changa’a brewers who use its dense jungle-like vegetation for cover.
“After flushing out most changa’a sellers from the estates, they escaped to the farm,” she said.
Confirming that plans were underway to fence of the land, Gituamba Stones General Manager Anthony Njoroge said the residents woes were self inflicted.
“The farm is private property and apart from quarrying, nothing else happens there. So what do people go there to do? They are not quarry workers,” Mr Njoroge said when contacted for comment.
“They are very hostile to our guards. Only a day before the incident, a mother insulted the guards for not allowing some boys to swim,” added Mr Njoroge.
However, to stem deaths at the quarries, he said an electric fence would be erected around the farm measuring
“We are sealing this farm as if to keep wild animals away. It will take about a month,” said the visibly angry manager.
Mwiki County Rep Isaac Ngige has demanded immediate fencing off of the quarries.