The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has promised to ensure that Peter Otieno, a former Sarova Hotel chef, who was injured at work, gets justice after a 15-year wait.
The plight of the paralysed chef was aired on Citizen TV on Monday night, with Otieno crying out for help after his advocate abandoned the case.
In a tweet, the LSK President Nelson Havi stated that the hotel should consider an amicable settlement.
“I have heard the cries for help by and on behalf of Peter Odoyo. I apologize sincerely for the failure by the Advocate on record to respond to Peter. The Law Society of Kenya will take up the matter against Sarova Hotels,” the LSK boss said.
In a rejoinder, Jimi Kariuki, the Managing Director of Sarova Hotels & Resorts Kenya and Chairman of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) claimed he learnt of Otieno’s case through the media and promised to act.
“Sir, I watched Peter Otiang’s story tonight. I immediately recognized Peter as I was with Sarova during his service with us from 2000-2006. I am deeply saddened by what I saw. I learnt about the case through a call from the media. No excuse. We will settle this matter, ” he said.
Sir, I watched Peter Otiang’s story tonight. I immediately recognized Peter as I was with Sarova during his service with us from 2000-2006. I am deeply saddened by what I saw. I learnt about the case through a call from the media. No excuse. We will settle this matter.
— Jimi Kariuki (@KariukiJimi) August 31, 2020
In the interview with the local media, Otieno stated that he was paralysed after the accident at work and efforts to get a compensation have not been fruitful due to constant frustrations both from the former employer and the lawyer assigned to the case.
He revealed that the case dragged on in court as the advocate abandoned him and no longer picks his calls or when he does he disconnects when he learns that it is him following up on the matter.
The father of five narrated that he got the spinal injury while on duty at the hotel’s potato station on February 26, 2005. The accident became the beginning and end of his career.
“Nilibeba viazi na basket, kuweka kwa potato machine, nikawa locked between roof na wall. Shingo ilivurutwa chini na weight ya potato,” he said.
Loosely translated, “I was carrying potatoes in a basket and slipped as I was about to pour them in a machine. I was locked between the machine and the wall with my neck in a compromising state.”
He took the matter to the Chief Magistrates Court under the Workmen’s Compensation Act that may apply in the event of an accident causing injury or death of a workman.
In the same year, his employer released him with earnings for his final 18 days amounting to Ksh24,350.
The family, led by his wife Caroline, the sole breadwinner who now sells mandazis at Kariobangi to earn a living, hopes that Otieno will one day get justice with the help of the government.