The Solai Dam Case is over 3 years old
It presently involves hundreds of witnesses and victims, and more than 10 very Senior advocates.
It has suffered false starts in several courts including in Nakuru and Nairobi.
Last year the court terminated the case due to failures attributed to the ODPP. Later, the High Court resuscitated the case.
However, the case has also delayed due to preliminary applications, objections, rulings, and related appeals.
The ODPP largely abstained to maintain neutrality.
Early this month there was a reprieve when Justice Richard Mwongo affirmed that Victims have a right to participate in the trial.
Subsequently, the High Court exercising oversight issued orders to compel the lower court to attend to the case on priority basis.
On Wednesday, when the case came up for the pretrial conference, it emerged that the ODPP wanted the case to proceed at the scene but had not completed the required preparations.
Advocates representing the accused persons, led by Senior Counsel Pravin Bowry, protested about this, and argued that it will be unfair to the rights of their clients.
The victims, led by their Pro Bono representative, Senior Counsel John Chigiti and Kenya Human Rights Commission, also requested to be supplied with witness statements.
State Counsel Alex Ndiema represented the ODPP but could not address court with limited instructions.
He informed the court that all the Senior State Counsels who were specially assigned by ODPP to the case were held up in other courts in Nairobi.
Outgoing Principal Magistrate Lyna Sarapai admonished ODPP for their absence on Wednsaday and directed that they put their house in order by 02.09.2021 when incoming Senior Principal Magistrate Lucy Njora will take over the case.
Wednesday’s proceedings were significant because the victims were participating in the case for the first time since 2018.
In a strange turn of events, the court was presided over by two magistrates. Kenyans only see this in Supreme Court.
Attendees were told that it is a new administrative policy for efficient case management.