Teachers ordered to appear in court over death of pupil

Residents at an abandoned borehole at Mukoyani Primary School in Ikolomani, Kakamega County. The school's management has been accused of negligence after a pupil died after falling into the borehole in June last year. [Duncan Ocholla, Standard]
An interdicted headteacher and her deputy have been ordered to appear before an inquest into the death of a pupil in their school.

Kakamega Senior Resident Magistrate Erick Malesi ordered the suspended headteacher of Mukoyani Primary School, Sophia Amisi, and her deputy, Matthew Shihemi, to appear before the inquest court on March 15.

Ten-year-old Ricato Luseno, a Standard Three pupil, was said to have been playing with his colleagues when he fell into an abandoned well in the school compound.

The Teachers Service Commission has interdicted both Ms Amisi and Mr Shihemi over the incident. 

The magistrate further ordered Shihemi, who has yet to record a statement with the police, to comply with a January 6 order directing him to do so.

Board of management

Mr Malesi ordered all the people mentioned in the matter to appear before the inquest on March 15.

The chairman of the school’s board of management and some of the members have recorded statements at Ikolomani Police Station.

Luseno died on June 13 last year when he fell into the well said to have been abandoned five years ago. It had no water.

On the fateful day, Amisi, who was interdicted last October, was away on official duty and had left Shihemi in charge of the school.

During break time, Luseno’s friends realised he was missing. Since they were playing near the hole, they suspected that he had fallen into the well.

The pupils were said to have reported the matter to Shehemi, who reportedly dismissed them.

In the evening, Luseno’s mother, Catherine Machafu, was said to have received her son’s school bag from his elder brother, who said a teacher had given it to him.

On inquiring what had happened, Ms Machafu was told her son had fallen into an abandoned well.

She mobilised villagers who, with the help of police, retrieved the body.

It had a deep cut on the head. Luseno was said to have fallen on a hoe that had fallen into the well.

A postmortem examination conducted at Kakamega General Hospital showed that Luseno died from a severe head injury and trauma due to a fall. In her statement on January 17, Amisi admitted there was an abandoned well in the school compound. She said it had been covered with waste wood.

Through lawyer Emily Kadenyi, Luseno’s family have insisted that he died due to the negligence of the school’s management, which it has accused of failing to cover the well.

Omission and negligence

They said the boy died as a result of acts of omission and negligence on the part of the deputy headteacher.

Further, the family argued that the board of management should have ordered that the borehole be covered permanently to avert such a calamity.

Mukoyani Primary SchoolSophia AmisiMatthew Shihemi