By Kintu Joseph
Leaders from West Pokot County have criticized Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya for calling off the search for 17 missing bodies following the flash floods and mudslides that claimed 37 people in Chesegon on West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet border last week.
The regional commissioner called off the search of bodies, saying it was impossible to retrieve any more of them from the debris owing to huge boulders and mounds of soil that had buried them.
Instead, Natembeya laid wreaths on the banks of Chesegon River to mark the end of the search, a move that angered residents and local leaders.
Speaking at Cheptulel area, local leaders said that it was wrong for the regional boss to stop the search before getting all the missing bodies.
Sigor MP Peter Lochakapong and his Kapenguria counterpart Samuel Moroto said that residents in the area need more time to look for bodies of their loved ones who perished in the disaster.
The duo now wants the government to rescind the decision to allow residents to continue with the recovery of missing bodies.
Lochakapong pointed out that four people from the Pokot side are still missing.
“We are deeply concerned about our people who died and their bodies have not been found. Residents still believe that they will get their loved ones.
They can do it for themselves. We need to bury our people honorably,” said Lochakapong.
He said that 56 people lost property and a total of 152 were badly affected by the calamity.
The legislator called on the Government to relocate affected families and build them alternative homes.
“The Government should construct houses for victims and move them to safer places for them to start life a new,” he said.
Mr. Moroto faulted Natembeya for not consulting local leaders during his visit recently in the area.
“He came and only talked to police officers but not locals and leaders. It is sad for government officers to ignore locals in times of disaster,” he said.
The MP also took issue with the regional commissioner for his recent shoot to kill order of bandits wreaking havoc in the area.