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Kakamega stampede: Ombudsman wants parents compensated

Wednesday March 18 2020
Kach

Kakamega Primary School head teacher Dickson Wanyangu consoles Elphas Lumumba and Grace Ayako Amianda, who lost their son Samuel Simekha, during his funeral at Ebusubi village in Emuhaya, Vihiga County, on February 9, 2020. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By SHABAN MAKOKHA

The office of the Ombudsman wants parents who lost their children in the Kakamega Primary School compensated.

Florence Kajuju, chair of the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ), called on the government to fully compensate the parents, saying the stampede on February 3 was not their fault.

She blamed the Ministry of Education for the tragedy, saying the building in which the 15 pupils died was unsafe.

CONGESTION

While noting that the building has two narrow stairways, the Ombudsman's office also cited congestion.

“The ministry is not following up to ensure infrastructures and the number of teachers match the number of learners. The stairways on the two sides of the building are narrow and don’t have rails,” Ms Kajuju said on Monday.

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Speaking when she visited the school, Ms Kajuju said the commission would following up on reports from all investigating agencies before recommending the next cause of action.

“For now, we are focusing on preliminary observations but we shall get reports from the National Construction Authority, the DCI and National Intelligence Service before we make our recommendations,” she said.

SOLUTIONS

The commission is mandated to, among other things, investigate complaints of delay, abuse of power, unfair treatment, manifest injustice or discourtesy in the public sector.

Ms Kajuju noted that investigation reports will determine long and short term solutions for the school, where the building is concerned.

She said plans are underway to put up additional staircases and expand existing ones to accommodate the high number of pupils and teachers who use the building.

“There should be a staircase for boys, another one for girls and a third one for teachers to reduce commotion in the building,” she said.

COUNSELLING

Ms Kajuju further called on organisations offering counselling sessions to the pupils to extend the services to parents and teachers.

She promised to move around schools in the country to assess security and safety.

“We want schools to be a safe places for our children as opposed to the current situation, where some have turned into death traps,” she said.

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