Kenya and US governments are to blame for the delay in paying the victims of the August 7, 1998 United States embassy bombing in Nairobi.
The chairman of the Bomb Blast Victims Association Paul Wala said none of the victims had been compensated. He said the two governments had been lax over the 13 years since the attack. “If the American government feels it cannot pay us, let it come out clearly and tell us so we forget about it. But we shall not let the Americans to just keep quiet with our rights. We shall continue demanding,” said Wala during a low-key event held at the Bomb Blast Memorial Park.
The victims are demanding one million dollars compensation for each of the survivors and the families of those who died in the bomb blast. David Adida, a survivor claimed that it was wrong to have compensated building and other property owners and ignore the survivors. The ceremony was given a wide berth by government officials, politicians and officials of the US embassy.
It was only Prime Minister Raila Odinga who sent an apology among those who had been invited. Wala especially took issue with US ambassador Jonathan Gration who he said went to the park in early morning and left saying he was going to attend to other business. In a carefully worded message at the site, the ambassador avoided the controversial compensation issue and instead chose to honour those who
lost their lives. “Today we honour the memory of Kenyans, Tanzanians and Americans who went to work on the morning of August 7, 1998 intending to do what they did everyday – promote democracy, build prosperity and deepen friendship among friends,” the message read. Wala produced a letter by then United States Attorney Mary Jo White dated November 5, 2001 which had asked victims to submit information on medical expenses and income loss to be considered for restitution.
Allan Onyango, a survivor, said that although the medical expenses were paid for, they did not receive the aforesaid communication. He also faulted the limited time line given, with the deadline to submit information being November 30, 2001 when some of the victims were still indisposed. Adida called on Prime Minister Raila to give the case more attention. He said, “We will appreciate it if the Prime Minister will mention it to President Obama when he visits the country later in the year.”