Employees of the Naivasha Water and Sewerage Company (NAIVAWASCO) on Monday staged a protest following the tragic incident in which one of their colleagues lost his life. He was attacked by a rogue hippo while at his duty station at the Naivasha Sewerage Treatment Plant.
Preliminary reports indicate that 45-year-old Francis Wachira was on duty at the treatment plant last Friday around midday when the hippo attacked him.
Wachira suffered severe injuries after the hippo trampled on him and threw him into the sewer pond, and tragically passed away while receiving medical care at Kijabe Hospital. He had been rushed there for treatment after being rescued from the attack.
According to Antony Njogu, a coworker of the deceased, Wachira was attacked while he was en route to the office after completing his duties at the treatment plant.
The NAIVAWASCO employees are calling for the removal of hippos from Lake Naivasha, saying they have become a serious threat not only to the company’s staff but also to the local residents.
Additionally, they are urging the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to provide compensation to the family of the late Wachira.
“Wachira has left a young family who have been left widowed and orphaned without a source of livelihood after losing a bread earner,” Njogu lamented.
Lakeview Ward Member of the County Assembly (MCA), Alex Mbugua, joined the employees in their quest for justice for the late Wachira. He appealed to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to take action by relocating the animals away from the lake to prevent future attacks.
Furthermore, it has been reported that a primary school student is currently hospitalized with severe injuries following a hippo attack in the same vicinity just a few days ago. Fishermen have also reported being attacked by these roaming hippos while on the lake.
A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) officer, who wished to remain anonymous due to restrictions on speaking to the media, disclosed that they have stationed security personnel at the plant to prevent any further harm from the hippos. Discussions are currently underway to determine a suitable resolution to this issue, which may include the relocation of the animals.
The officer urged both NAIVAWASCO staff and local residents to remain calm as they await a potential resolution to the problem.
Last year, the Government announced its intention to allocate Sh2.6 billion for compensation to victims of human-wildlife conflicts in the country.
In July of this year, it disbursed Sh908 million as compensation to individuals who suffered losses, including those who lost family members, were injured, or had their property destroyed by wildlife incidents throughout the country.