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Probe school uniform deals in Nakuru, says lobby group

By Steve Mkawale | January 6th 2016

A civil rights group wants schools sued for compelling parents to buy uniforms supplied by exclusive outfitters at high prices.

Officials of the Nakuru Residents Association yesterday claimed ‘sweetheart deals’, where schools take a share from suppliers for the right to sell their uniforms, could amount to an illegal cartel.

Parents queue in a last-minute rush to buy school uniforms for their children at a uniform shop in Nakuru town on Monday. A rights group wants schools taken to court for sending parents to uniform outfitters that overcharge. (PHOTO: JOSEPH KIPSANG/ STANDARD)

“As a civil rights organisation we are concerned by this alarming trend where parents are forced to purchase uniforms at specific shops,” said association chair Eiassif Magoma.

He said school uniforms bought at two outfitters located along Kenyatta Avenue were slightly higher in price compared to other shops.

The parents yesterday said they were forced to queue for hours at the two outlets to buy uniforms at exorbitant prices.

“If you read this letter of admission you will discover the school wants us to buy uniforms at only this one shop,” said a parent who requested anonymity.

Janet Wairimu, another parent, said the school was categorical that she should buy the uniform only at one shop.

A spot check by The Standard revealed the two outlets along the street had booming business, with long queues of parents and teachers that lasted for the better part of the day.

A security guard at one of the shops said they were overwhelmed by the large number of parents who had been trooping to the shop since schools re-opened last Monday.

Mr Magoma said they had been monitoring the trend for long and established that some school administrators were colluding with businessmen.

“We shared the agony and torture parents and students are going through queuing for hours to wait for their turns to access the shops,” he said.

Daniel Murugu called for probe whether there was an element of collusion in the matter.

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