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Meru County bans firefighters from school fire tragedies

By Wainaina Ndung'u | Published Thu, July 12th 2018 at 00:15, Updated July 12th 2018 at 00:14 GMT +3
Governor kiraitu Murungi and Eastern Regional Education Cordinator Margaret Lesuuda at the Meru County education stakeholders meeting at Kaaga Girls High School on July 11, 2018. [Wainaina Ndung'u, Standard]

Meru county government has banned its firefighters from responding to school fire tragedies.

Speaking at a meeting of education stakeholders in Meru town, Governor Kiraitu Murungi said his government was saddened by arson cases in schools which has affected over 10 institutions in the area in the last two weeks.

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"We are pained when we see them go up in smoke because this are school facilities for which we have contributed from our meagre provisions," said the Meru governor.

Kiraitu said although Meru was leading centre of firefighting in the country after receiving equipment from donors in the United Kingdom, its department will not respond to distress calls from schools facing unrest because this was preventable.

He urged school principals who were in the meeting together with members of school boards of management to invest highly in intelligence saying that most of the unrest had indicated that managers were out of touch with the students.

"Governments everywhere can hardly survive without investing in intelligence," added Kiraitu.

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The governor said he supported a declaration by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed that parents will have to bear the cost of repairing school facilities destroyed in unrest.

But to lessen the burden on parents, Kiraitu urged schools to acquire fire insurance on their school facilities saying it was some of the most basic and affordable cover available in the country.

"If schools suffer the vagaries of fires and needed to replace their facilities, we shall only help if they show us evidence of insurance cover," he declared.

According to the Meru County Commissioner Wilfred Nyagwanga, 20 secondary school students in the area are facing charges in court related to arson attacks in the last two weeks.

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Schools affected by the unrest include Meru School which was closed early this week while Kathera Boys in Imenti South, Mukuiru Mixed Day and Secondary School in Tigania East sub county, Thuura Secondary (Imenti North), Kisima Secondary school (Buuri) and Thitha Secondary School in Igembe North have seen destruction of dormitories by fires.

Other schools affected by unrest are Kiangua High school in Imenti South and St Lukes Boys High School (Tigania West).

"These fires are really unfortunate because at the Thuura Secondary School, for example, all the dormitories were razed down and that institution is likely to be converted into a day school from its current status," said Nyagwanga.

The administrator said school principals and boards of management had been put into notice that they were responsible for the security of the schools.

Kiraitu also urged all teachers to support the delocalisation policy of head teachers launched by the government saying it was in the interest of the country.

"It will be very foolish for one to go to primary school, secondary school and university in one county and then work there all their lives because their idea of the nation would be very lopsided," said Kiraitu.

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