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Sonko blames state negligence for Sinai fire

Nairobi senator Mike Sonko took to the witness box on Thursday in a compensation case he has filed for Sinai fire victims.

Mr Sonko blamed government officials for loss of lives and destruction occasioned by the 2011 Sinai fire incident.

The senator, adorned in his trademark gold chains and rings and a shirt resplendent of the colours of the national flag, said failure to repair a Sh1, 000 gasket led to the fire.

“The government did not do its part in repairing the gasket,” said Mr Sonko.

The senator claimed the incident would not have happened had the government serviced the oil pipeline that runs through the slum. The slum hosts 40, 000 people.

Mr Sonko, who was the Makadara Member of Parliament at the time, said he contacted emergency services among them the fire brigade personnel.

“I arrived at the scene half an hour after being called, the situation was not good, there were bodies around,” said Mr Sonko.

Mr Sonko said the road leading to the slum is in bad condition engines fire engines experienced difficulties accessing the area during the incident.

The case is being heard by Justice David Majanja.

The senator was stood down after the respondents said they had not been given video clips of the incident he intended to use as evidence of the case. 

Through his lawyer Mr Alphonce Mutinda, the senator said the government had a duty to protect the residents.

Mr Sonko filed the case seeking compensation for the 103 people who perished in the fire caused by a suspected spillage of highly inflammatory discharge.

He is also asking the court to compensate over 300 people who suffered injuries and those who incurred business losses.

The judge said parties are at liberty to file and exchange any documents required including copies of videos before March 3.

Mr Majanja fixed the case  for hearing on March 10.