Public anger over Nakumatt disaster

Hundreds of Nairobi residents continue flocking to the site of the burnt Nakumatt Downtown where the Kenyan government and the supermarket’s management are blamed for the loss of at least 25 lives.

Crowds outside the burnt Nakumatt Downtown supermarket.

Crowds outside the burnt Nakumatt Downtown supermarket.

There are strong sentiments among the public that there’s more to the story than currently reported by government officials and the media.

Disaster response was woefully inadequate as firefighting engines quickly ran out of water. The Kenya Police arrived at the site with guns and teargas instead of first aid kits.

It is beginning to emerge that the supermarket managers may have closed off the exits to prevent looting when the fire started. By the time the scale of the fire became obvious, it was too late to save those trapped inside.

On the first day of the disaster, Nakumatt announced that nobody died. By Friday evening, 25 bodies had been recovered. Those in the vicinity of the supermarket when the fire erupted on Wednesday afternoon believe more people have died.

Kenyan media have also come under criticism from ordinary people for not bringing out full details of the story. Strangely enough, the media have been very careful in their reporting of the disaster. This is in sharp contrast to the coverage of political events which get instant reporting without confirming the truth or otherwise of claims by politicians.

Indeed, in the first two days of the disaster, local media was more pre-occupied with the clownish intrigues of the out-of-touch parliament than in providing up to date information on the Nakumatt disaster.

One Response

  1. With the conduct of a major advertiser like Nakumatt in question, the corporate media is scared of backlash.

    Thank God for citizen journalism and the internet. Keep digging on this story until all willing eyewitness accounts are heard.

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