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Kakamega stampede: 46 pupils record statements  

Thursday February 27 2020

Kakamega Primary cleansing ceremony

Parents and pupils of Kakamega Primary School during a cleansing ceremony, following the deaths of 14 learners in a stampede, on February 10, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BENSON AMADALA
By BENSON AMADALA
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Forty-six pupils from Kakamega Primary School have recorded statements with detectives investigating the tragic stampede which claimed the lives of 15 of their colleagues on February 3, 2020.

As the investigations take shape, police have said that 15 pupils who sustained injuries in the incident will be issued with P3 Forms to be duly filled in by doctors.

INVESTIGATIONS

Police are considering charging those found culpable. Western Region Criminal Investigations Officer Shem Nyamboki said the detectives were finalising investigations before forwarding the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“We are prepared to proceed with the matter depending on the recommendations of the ODPP,” said Mr Nyamboki.

The detectives had earlier recorded statements from 16 teachers from the school. A post-mortem on the bodies of 14 pupils indicated they died from suffocation.  

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One of the pupils who had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit at the Kakemega County General and Referral Hospital collapsed and died at her parents’ home in Amalemba estate shortly after she had been discharged.

Western Region Government Pathologist Dickson Mchana said Salma Oleso Bilal died of lung injuries.

Parents of the 15 pupils from Grade Four and Five who died in the incident want the investigations concluded and findings made public.

Chairperson of the Commission on Administrative Justice Florence Kajuju visited the school with her team and faulted the manner the staircases on both ends of the storey building were constructed.

COMPENSATION

She said the commission will push for the affected parents to be fully compensated for the deaths of their children.

Ms Kajuju blamed the Ministry of Education for the tragic incident, saying the building had two narrow staircases which could have contributed to the stampede as the classrooms on third floor of the building had 540 pupils. She said the classrooms were congested.  

 “The Ministry of Education is not following up to ensure expansion of the infrastructure and teachers in learning institutions to match the number of learners. The stairways on the two sides of the building are narrow and have no rails,” said Ms Kajuju.

She said: “For now, we are basing our findings on preliminary observations but we shall get reports from the National Construction Authority (NCA), the DCI and National Intelligence Service (NIS) before we make our recommendations about the tragic incident,” she added.

UNFAIR TREATMENT

The CAJ, known as Office of the Ombudsman, has the mandate to investigate complaints of delays, abuse of power, unfair treatment, manifest injustice or discourtesy to tackle maladministration (improper administration) in the public sector.

Ms Kajuju noted that the investigation reports will determine long and short-term solutions on the status of the building.

She said plans were under way to put up additional stairways to make the number of the staircases three and expand the existing ones to accommodate the high number of pupils and teachers using the building.

“There should be a staircase for boys, another one for girls and a third one for the teachers to reduce commotion on the building,” recommended Ms Kajuju.

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