Wanjiku’s plight can wait, politicians are building bridges

100% transition to secondary school not possible with crisis in economy

In Summary

• Story of children who swam to school after bridge was swept away barely reached media houses, leave alone responsible leaders. 

• State's 100% transition agenda will not succeed with poor school infrastructure and an ailing economy while BBI trends for months. 

Pupils of Petros Primary School swim across River Lusumu on January 21 to get to school.
MISPLACED PRIORITIES: Pupils of Petros Primary School swim across River Lusumu on January 21 to get to school.

Journalists want to cover stories of human interest, stories about the plight of the common man, but they increasingly also want to cover the stories of those who call the shots. Whether this is structurally deliberate or a means of economic preservation, it emphatically contributes to the crisis that has befallen humanity.

Take the story of pupils swimming to school. Last December, when rains swept makeshift bridge in River Lumusu, Mumias East, it somehow escaped our hardworking journalists. The story, like most stories of human interest on these parts, didn’t make headlines, that is if it reached the desks of editors in Nairobi.

So, when it emerged that pupils have been forced to swim across the wild waters to get to school, one media house ran it.

A harrowing video clip of teenage schoolchildren making their way to school in such an odd way showed the injustice in Kenya’s corridors of power.

Unsurprisingly, this story didn’t reach our politicians. They are busy "uniting the country and building political bridges". 

Why do our politicians hate the poor? Why do they love to see them in a state of unending poverty? And, why do we allow them to do so? These are some legitimate questions that Kenyans must grapple with in earnest.

The 100 per cent transition from primary school to secondary school that the government is pushing for is by far a mockery to the majority of parents who can’t put food on the table.

A few cases have been highlighted, but what about the thousands that cannot access the popularity or even their own MCA.

There is a lot to be done on the government’s side for a 100 per cent transition to succeed. Apart from curing the economy, the government ought to address infrastructure requirements in schools.

Poor school structures are the result of a bad decision on the part of citizens who listen to the sweetest music during elections and end up choosing the song with the fakest promises. 

That is the time politicians dish out cash indiscriminately, traverse lengths and breadths of villages at night and camp is churches in hunt of votes. They become the immediate panacea to our problems and the thought of having it all corrupts our minds. 

Politicians like it when the masses run after them for handouts and cheap gifts. But this would not happen if the public was informed enough to actually listen to the promises made to them and how realistic they sound in prospect. 


Journalism student, Multimedia University of Kenya