SAFETY STANDARDS

Kakamega school building unsafe, engineers say

Team inspected the building and recommended modification

In Summary
  • Experts say tragedy was inevitable given the building's size vis-à-vis the population of learners
  • They recommend construction of an extra stairway in the middle of the building to avert future disaster
Kakamega Primary School where 14 pupils died in a stampede
UNSAFE: Kakamega Primary School where 14 pupils died in a stampede
Image: HILTON OTENYO

Engineers have said the storey building in which 14 Kakamega Primary School pupils died in a stampede last Monday does not meet safety standards.

The team led by Jane Mutilili inspected the building on Thursday and recommended modification of the three-storey structure. 

They said the Monday tragedy was inevitable given the building's size vis-à-vis the population of learners.

 

Mutilili said the building lacks adequate stairways as well as escape routes in case of an emergency. This poses danger to the the 900 pupils who use classrooms on the two upper floors.

The engineers recommended construction of an extra stairway in the middle of the building to avert future disaster. 

“The existing stairways will be utilized by learners using classrooms on the extreme ends while those in four classes in the middle have to use the new stairway,” Mutilili said.

An joint requiem mass for the 14 children was held on Friday at Bukhungu stadium.

Leaders from the region called for a commission of inquiry into the deaths, saying the matter was beyond police investigations.

Police are yet to unravel the cause of the deadly stampede. Ten victims were buried at the weekend.

Western region police boss Peris Kimani had earlier indicated that the school's head teacher and three teachers were among those who recorded statements with detectives over the deaths.

 

Education CS George Magoha said the outcome of the probe would be made public on Monday. 

Autopsy reports released on Thursday showed the 14 pupils suffocated. Only one had a dislocated shoulder.

A number of theories have been advanced about what triggered the stampede.

 They range from a bad prank, devil worship and threats by a teacher. It remains unclear what the pupils were doing in school at 5.30pm when school time ends at 3.45pm.

Some politicians have linked the deaths to activities of some churches that conduct services at the school.