MEMORIAL SERVICE

Leaders demand public inquest into death of 14 Kakamega pupils

The leaders who spoke during the service said the death of the 14 was not an ordinary accident and demanded a public inquest to unravel the mystery.

In Summary
  • The memorial service brought together over 10 governors, four senators, several woman representatives, MPs and MCAs.
  • Also represented were representatives from the Kenya National Union of Teachers,  the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers and the Ministry of Education.
Caskets bearing the bodies of 13 pupils who perished in Kakamega Primary School tragedy during a memorial service at Bukhungu Stadium Kakamega county on Friday. A muslim girl had been buried earlier.
Caskets bearing the bodies of 13 pupils who perished in Kakamega Primary School tragedy during a memorial service at Bukhungu Stadium Kakamega county on Friday. A muslim girl had been buried earlier.
Image: CALISTUS LUCHETU

Sombre mood, grief, shock and tears.

That is what charactrised engulfed Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega as thousands of Kakamega residents, parents, relatives and friends of the 14 pupils who perished at Kakamega Primary School stampede converged for a memorial service.

The memorial service brought together over 10 governors, four senators, several woman representatives, MPs and MCAs.

Also represented were representatives from the Kenya National Union of Teachers,  the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers and the Ministry of Education.

 
 
The leaders who spoke during the service said the deaths of the 14 pupils was not an ordinary accident and demanded a public inquest to probe the matter.

 

They also asked measures to be put in place to keep pupils and students safe in schools.

Knut secretary General Wilson Sossion said there was negligence on the part of the Ministry of Education in ensuring quality assurance and standards, which he said are lacking in schools.

“We demand that quality assurance and standards committee be constituted and should be able to provide reports every year. We also want school infrastructure to be enhanced in terms of funding through the counties to cater for 100 per cent transistion,” Sossion said.

Mother of one of the 14 pupils who perished in Kakamega Primary School tragedy being assisted by relatives during the memorial service at Bukhungu Stadium Kakamega county on February 7, 2020
Mother of one of the 14 pupils who perished in Kakamega Primary School tragedy being assisted by relatives during the memorial service at Bukhungu Stadium Kakamega county on February 7, 2020
Image: CALISTUS LUCHETU

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, former Senator Boni Khalwale, Ford-K leader Moses Wetang'ula, Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba were in concurrence that spiritual occurrence may have caused the death.

Pathological tests by Dr Dickson Muchana confirmed the children died of suffocation.  

Khalwale and Milemba, however, think otherwise and demanded that an inquest be formed so that volunteers can give information.

“Kakamega county has had many calamities since 2014. The same year, seven people drowned to death after their car veered into Isukhu River. Another eight died of terror the same year in Mandera. In 2018, we converged here to pray for 31 people who perished in a road accident at Fort Tenan and now this,” Opranya said.

Milemba said when he visited the staircase where the deaths occurred, he saw nothing treacherous and risky to pupils and wondered how the stampede happened.

Wetang'ula said the DCI has a limited mandate to investigate the incident, especially if the deaths involve spirits.

One of the mothers of the 14 pupils who perished in Kakamega Primary School tragedy during a memorial service at Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega county, on February 7, 2020
One of the mothers of the 14 pupils who perished in Kakamega Primary School tragedy during a memorial service at Bukhungu Stadium, Kakamega county, on February 7, 2020
Image: CALISTUS LUCHETU

"In circumstances like this under the law, it is not possible for the police to investigate the calamity holistically. For me, there was an aspect of negligence. How do you allow the pupils to trudge downstairs like cattle in a cattle dip?” Wetangula asked.

Khalwale said the problem at the school was too complex to be handled solely by the police.