Families affected by the Solai dam tragedy of May 9, 2018, will receive compensation totaling Sh57.6 million after the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) presided over an out-of-court agreement with dam owner Perry Mansukh.
The owners of the dam have agreed to provide compensation of Sh1.2 million to each family that lost an adult in the tragedy and Sh800,000 for each family that lost a child.
On the night of May 9, 2018, the man-made Milmet dam at the expansive Patel Coffee Estate in Solai, Nakuru county burst its banks, claiming the lives of 47 people.
KHRC commenced the negotiations with the Patel family on October 19, 2023, following a directive by Naivasha Chief Magistrate Nathan Lutta allowing victims to engage in discussions with the dam owners for an out-of-court settlement.
The final negotiations conducted on Tuesday included representatives from the 47 families, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), the dam owners, and their legal representatives.
“Chief Magistrate Lutta agreed to the request mainly because it was initiated by the affected families who had been suffering since 2018,” KHRC Program Manager Mary Kambo said.
She mentioned that Mansukh initially proposed a compensation of Sh500,000 for adult victims and Sh300,000 for children victims, a proposal that faced objections from the affected families.
Mary Kambo said the victims’ families were made to understand that human life could not be valued and that finding closure was important for healing.
Mr Boniface Masinde, a lawyer representing Mansukh, added: “The court had given parties liberty to negotiate and now that we have a deal, all the parties will approach the court to persuade the magistrate to endorse it.”
The owners of the dam are prepared to initiate payments as soon as the court approves the deal, scheduled for the next mention date.
The matter is scheduled for mention on November 20 before the court in Naivasha.