The Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs has taken a significant step in addressing the longstanding issue of compensation for victims of the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Nairobi.
Cabinet Secretary Dr. Alfred Mutua announced the establishment of a dedicated desk at the ministry's headquarters to handle matters related to compensating the victims of the tragic event that occurred over two decades ago.
Mutua's announcement signals a change in approach to the matter, acknowledging the prolonged suffering of the victims and the need for a comprehensive solution.
Appearing before the Senate Ad Hoc committee responsible for advocating compensation by the US Government, Mutua emphasized that all diplomatic channels would be revitalized in an endeavour to reach a conclusive resolution.
"I have today appeared before the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on the compensation of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing Victims that is chaired by Senator Hon. Agnes Kavindu," stated Mutua.
The newly established special desk is set to play a pivotal role in connecting the victims, their legal representatives, the Senate committee, and American institutions involved in addressing the issue.
This move is expected to streamline communication and coordination, expediting the process of securing compensation for those affected by the tragic incident.
Mutua highlighted the emotional nature of the committee's interactions with the victims, where they shared vivid accounts of the aftermath of the bombing, along with the enduring challenges and health issues resulting from the attack.
“It was an emotional meeting as victims vividly narrated the events that followed after the bombing, the hardships and health complications they’ve had to suffer from as a result of the attack,” he said.
For the Kenyan victims who were not embassy employees, the pursuit of compensation has been ongoing for a quarter of a century.
Mutua reiterated the government's commitment to seeking justice for its citizens and its dedication to lobbying for the necessary legislative changes required for compensation.
The Ministry's dedication is further demonstrated by its decision to hold a position on the board responsible for overseeing the compensation of the victims.
"I acknowledged that the compensation of the victims is long overdue and that the Government will step up diplomatic efforts to ensure compensation for Kenyan victims of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing is fast-tracked," affirmed Mutua.
While acknowledging that legal avenues have yielded some results in the past, Dr. Mutua emphasized the need for more comprehensive engagement.
He underlined the United States' significance as one of Kenya's primary partners and expressed optimism regarding a positive resolution.
The Senate committee, headed by Senator Agnes Kavindu of Machakos, has engaged in discussions with various Cabinet secretaries and senior government officials in pursuit of this cause.
The establishment of the special desk marks a significant turning point in the effort to provide closure and compensation for the victims of the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Nairobi.
The Ministry's commitment to a multifaceted approach, involving diplomatic efforts and legislative changes, reflects a strong determination to address this issue comprehensively and bring much-needed relief to those who have endured the impact of this tragic event for far too long.