School, health centre to be set up for the Boni

Monday June 4 2018

Fahim Twaha

Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha addressing locals at Mkunguni Square in Lamu Town. PHOTOS | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The Lamu County government has announced plans to set up a school for the Boni community in terror-prone Basuba ward in Lamu East.

Governor Fahim Twaha also revealed plans to establish a fully functioning health centre in the area as all dispensaries in the region stalled four years ago due to Al-Shabaab attacks.

Addressing the public in Lamu on Monday, Mr Twaha said the education and health centres will be established at Kiangwe village.

Since 2015, the Boni community people have faced attacks by Al-Shabaab militants who raid villages from their base in Boni forest.

The county government has been forced to transfer the pupils from their villages to safer schools such as Mokowe Arid Zone Primary School in Lamu West and Kiunga Primary School in Lamu East.

All schools in the region including Milimani, Basuba, Mangai, Mararani and Kiangwe were closed after teachers fled the region for fear of their security caused by the Al-Shabaab.

The community has also been surviving without medical care after their dispensaries were vandalised by Al-Shabaab militants.

Lamu Women Representative Ruweida Obbo said her office will cooperate with the county government leadership in ensuring the idea of establishing the health and education centres in Boni land is accomplished.

“I have already started and I am ready to cooperate with the county government leadership in ensuring the Bonis also live comfortable lives,” said Mrs Obbo.

On several occasions, the Bonis who are traditionally hunters and gatherers have admitted to having found it hard to cope with the current economic times since majority of them do not have an education or a reliable employment.

Basuba Ward MCA Deko Barissa has welcomed the idea to establish the health and learning centres in the region saying the move will end the decade’s long marginalization of the Boni community.

“We are a community that has for ages not been literate. You can actually count the number of people who have gone to school here and they are not even 100. The government and society has treated us like we weren’t there. We don’t have good schools or health centres and even those that exist here are not in operation. I welcome the idea to build the common health and education centres in Kiangwe. Our people will at least have access to health services and education,” said Mr Barissa.

He also called on the government to set up more police posts especially where the learning centre will be established to enable their children to learn in a secure environment.

Parents who spoke to the Nation appealed for school feeding programmes to be introduced immediately the education centre is established in their area to attract more children into schools.

“Feeding programmes will attract more children to attend the centre and learn. Many children here come from poor background families,” said Mr Hamisi Msuo.