Uproar over Kisumu Governor Nyong'o's plan to relocate Kisumu Boys

Parents register their children during Form One admission at Kisumu Day High School. [Michael Mute, Standard]

An uproar has greeted Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o’s attempt to have Kisumu Boys relocated from the Central Business District.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has joined the list of critics of the plan and wants the attempt halted citing lack of public participation. Kisumu’s Kuppet executive secretary Zablon Awange claimed that the attempt was ill-informed and a misplaced priority. He claimed that all key stakeholders have been sidelined in the proposals to relocate the iconic school.

He said the education fraternity will reject any attempts to relocate Kisumu Boys and Kisumu Girls. The two schools sit at the heart of the city and cover large swathes of space that the devolved unit wants put into commercial use.

“Attempts by the governor to relocate Kisumu Boys and Kisumu Girls are uncalled for, lack legal basis, are misplaced priorities, and will be rejected by stakeholders. As a union, we will reject this idea,” said Awange in a statement.

On Tuesday, Nyong’o told journalists that Kisumu Boys will be relocated from the city to a new site to pave way for the establishment of economic spaces.

“Considering the value of the place, that land needs to be useful. We need to construct an integrated urban centre rather than schools,” Prof Nyong’o.

The plans have been integrated in the proposed Kisumu Local Physical and Land Use Development Plan. The controversial plan also proposes sweeping changes to existing structures located within the city, expansion of the city’s borders as well as new rules on land ownership. The proposals have also zoned out various regions of the county with each having specific investments and land use plans.

It has mapped out the outskirts of the city to provide high-density residential areas. Among the areas mapped out to provide residential zones are Buoye, Mayenya, Kasule, and Chiga as well as some villages in Kisumu West where the plan proposes restrictions on the types of infrastructure residents can do. The proposals also entail a plan to relocate schools located within the CBD to pave way for new commercial spaces. 

However, the plans to relocate Kisumu Boys and Kisumu Girls could only begin in 2030, with a technical committee that developed the proposals terming the process a long-term project. The plan also intends to change the scope of housing in the city with the county eyeing to establish affordable housing for residents. On Thursday, Kuppet accused the county government of failing to address challenges facing the education sector, including poor infrastructure in Early Childhood Centers.

Social media was also awash with criticism of the plan to move the schools with many claiming the decision was uncalled for.