By Renson Mnyamwezi
The prisons authorities want teachers from Manyani Primary School who have for years been occupying houses belonging to the department to vacate by May 2012 or else face forcible eviction.
The public primary school is situated inside Manyani Prison.
The eviction threat comes at a time when shortage of houses continues to hit prison facilities in the country.
At the same time congestion in local prisons has become the order of the day, with officers being forced to share small single rooms yet there are adequate housing for them but being used by another department.
"Prison officers have no houses to live in as their houses have been occupied by teachers. We want teachers to immediately vacate by next month (May) to pave the way for the prison staff to occupy them. We cannot allow prison officers to continue sharing houses in the facility anymore," said the Officer-in-charge of the GK Prison, Mr Nicholas Kipsang Mwaswai.
"Teachers in the area are being paid house, hardship and commuter allowances every month and have been staying in the houses free of charge. They do not even pay for water and electricity bills. They have been occupying the self-contained houses free while prison officers share houses. WeÂfve to settle our officers who are not being paid allowances like teachers," retorted Mwaswai.
Speaking to The Standard, the prisons boss said some of the teachers had been occupying the houses for the last 25 years hence denying over 400 prison warders at the facility their fundamental rights.
He at the same time said due to shortage of teachers at the school, the prisons department had taken an initiative to employ one teacher, a move that should be appreciated.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Taita-Taveta Branch has also entered into the fray and vowed to resist any attempt to evict teachers.
The Branch Executive Secretary Ms Rosalia Mkanjala urged teachers to stay put until the matter is resolved.