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Governor Sakaja’s absence during two deadly fire incidents raises concerns

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja is facing criticism and questions over his absence during two recent critical incidents in Nairobi County, raising concerns about leadership accountability.

On Tuesday, January 30, a massive fire broke out in the Juakali area near City Stadium, causing significant property losses to traders.

Shockingly, Governor Sakaja was reportedly out of the country at the time, having travelled to South Africa on official business before heading to the United Kingdom.

Sources at City Hall confirmed the governor’s overseas trip, highlighting his absence during the City Stadium fire incident, which saw Deputy Governor Njoroge Muchiri visit affected Juakali traders the following day.

Also read: Karua urges Sakaja to support Embakasi fire victims

Commenting on the damage caused by the fire, Dr Muchiri expressed sympathy for the affected small traders and assured them of the county’s support.

“We are aware that many families are suffering and the county, under the leadership of Governor Sakaja, will help those affected,” said Dr Muchiri.

Just three days later, on February 2, another tragic incident occurred in Mirad, Embakasi East, where an illegal gas refilling plant exploded, injuring more than 270 people and killing six.

Once again, Deputy Governor Muchiri took on the role of representing the county, mourning with the victims and pledging support to the affected families.

Dr Muchiri, alongside Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua, pledged the county’s commitment to providing relief and rehabilitation resources.

“As a county government, we assure you that all resources are being mobilised for relief and rehabilitation. We are working tirelessly with the relevant authorities and government agencies to rebuild what has been lost,” he said in his address.

Also read: How Imara Daima businessman was abducted by masked men never to be seen again

Governor Sakaja’s silence during these events extended to his social media platforms, where he usually shares updates on his whereabouts and county affairs.

In response to growing concerns, his communications team issued a statement assuring that all victims of the Embakasi fire would receive free treatment at all Nairobi County hospitals.

Meanwhile, panic has gripped Mradi village, which bore the brunt of Friday’s gas explosion in Embakasi, Nairobi, over a suspected fresh gas leak.

Residents on Monday, February 5, reported smelling a gas similar to the one that wafted through their nostrils moments before the Friday, February 2, horror that left at least six people dead and more than 300 injured.

Consequently, an exodus is underway, with families abandoning their houses out of fear of the unknown.

Nairobi City County Chief Officer in charge of Disaster Management Bramwell Simiyu told the Nation that the area had been secured and a fire engine dispatched as a precautionary measure.

Energy Regulatory Commission of Kenya (Epra), he said, had been alerted of the development and was expected to assess the situation.