September 26, 2011 Mad Hatter


In April this year Hank Krakowski, The head of USA air traffic Control Agency resigned from his job for unimaginable reason. In the course of duty, there had been incidences where Air traffic control officers fell asleep. The pilot with over one hundred and fifty passengers on board was forced to make a landing without the traffic controller.

This essentially was a way of taking responsibility for an event that placed lives of people in relative danger. No event had ensued, no scratch was sustained by any passenger, his contribution to the mishap was rather remote, a worker napping; yet Hank resigned.

Later in July, Rand Vickers who headed Computer Emergency Readiness Team tasked to respond to cyber attacks resigned after several high profile attacks on the American Intelligence and public websites. Rand was taking responsibility for being unable to lead a team into safeguarding sensitive data.

Hank’s case is a classic example of vicarious liability. That indeed, even if not directly involved in the control trade, he headed the unit, and the very notion that a life could be endangered under his watch necessitated his oust. In as much as there lacked a legal reason for his exit, morally he was obliged to.

A sharp contrast of the two scenarios would be in the Kenyan context. The country is still reeling under the Sinai shock. Well, the word would mean an altogether converse of its Biblical compatriot in the Kenyan minds.

Whereas in the Bible it would mean the start of the Israeli liberation, in the Kenyan context it is a rude reminder of a nation at war with itself. What is even worrying is that it brings to surface the still stiff mentality of the leading elite as to the concept of responsibility.

As bodies were still being whisked from the smouldering remains of the slum, the CEO Kenya Pipeline was interviewed by a National TV. Kilinda expressed the institution’s regret at the tragedy but was quick to assure the victims that compensation would not be an option since reasonably the company had done what would be termed as due care.


Honestly, when I heard that he would be on TV, I had a default presumption that he would resign as CEO. The turn of events was rather surprising. Days later I would see a press statement on a local daily correcting the ’misrepresentations against’ KPC by the media.

Well, KPC could be true in asserting reasonable care, but as such, within the normal course of events 79 people are not incinerated casually like that. The KPC pipelines could be well serviced, but it is not always that gasoline would be found in a slum river always. However remote, there was a contribution on the part of the Institution and the country deserved better than  legal position as to why compensation would not coming.

I admired Titus Naikuni during the Doula tragedy. The man was there, on every press conference and with the mouners. Whereas KQ’,S issue is miles apart from the negligent KPC, it is surprising to note the extent Institutions in Kenya value human life. Kilinde’s resignation may not be necessitated by law, but it is a moral obligation.

When on 27th October 2009 a train crushed in Egypt killing 29 people, the transport minister stepped aside to allow a new leadership. To relieve the victim’s of the burden of seeing he who was on watch as people died.

Earlier on in 2004, Zhang Rengui then a mayor of Haining city resigned when a worship house fire caused death. The two men had no contribution in the accidents, in fact, the two incidents were accidents, but still they bowed to prudence in care for public feelings to vacate office.

KPC’S could amount to criminal negligence. As a state entity, it is bound to offer utmost care to those it places in danger: the basic linkage s that KPC is what is mandated to ship petroleum and the contents that burnt Kenyans in its custody. We would naturally expect that due care would mean incident less delivery to the destined terminus.

Kiraitu Murungi- Minister Energy

The minister for Energy owes the country an exit equally. His inability to manage the docket has seen a Triton scandal, extensive upsurge of oil prices, continued dominance of oil cartels and numerous fires caused by Oil spillage.

What educational measures have been initiated to sensitize the public? We leave hideous images of burnt cadavers to have a lasting deterrent impression in the minds of others who would wish to siphon oil from spillages.

Without addressing the cause, public assertions in mass burials will not deter hungry Kenyans from seeking a relief in a risk. It could be a risk taken with knowledge, but what difference is there when the difference between today and tomorrow is a chance of being able to breathe. In itself, if a challenge that could eventuate in death offers a possibility of a different tomorrow, a human being, created to expand, is perfectly justified in undertaking the risk.

The New dispensation was hoped that it could occasion a paradigm shift in the tenets of leadership, in as much as I could excuse political bigotry within political circles; I am unable to comprehend why a body that ought to be guided by a social conscience like KPC could be brutally inconsiderate.

The old mentality, where people are greater than institutions, where leadership is a personal making and not a public trust continues to hijack the anticipation of a new dawn.

A culture of respect for grief should at least guide us. Someone owes the memories of the dead responsibility.

Kenyans donate blood for Victims

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