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Leaders want students jailed for burning schools

By Jackline Inyanji | Nov 7th 2021 | 2 min read

From Left: Kakamega Woman Representative Naomi Shiyonga, Malava MP Malulu Injendi and Governor Wycliffe Oparanya (in white shirt) at a funeral in Malava constituency on November 6, 2021 [Courtesy]

Leaders from Kakamega County want students found culpable of burning schools send to jail.

Speaking a day after Kakamega High School was closed indefinitely after two dormitories were destroyed by fire early Saturday, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and the county woman representative Elsie Muhanda said courts should not be lenient to destructive learners.

“Students found guilty of torching schools should be jailed for up to 60 years to serve as an example to their colleagues with the intention to commit similar criminal acts,” said Oparanya.

Kakamega County police commander Hassan Barua confirmed the arrests of at least 16 students linked to the dawn fire incident at Kakamega High School.

He said investigations were ongoing to establish the motive behind the burning of the dormitories and the cause of the fire which destroyed property worth millions of shillings including the student's personal effects.

According to Oparanya, a jail term could serve as a deterrent measure. “They will be old after serving their sentences and will not be able to destroy property whether public or private.”

The county chief said the government, the Ministry of Education ought to consider abolishing boarding schools as earlier recommended by former KNUT secretary general Wilson Sossion and many other players in the education sector.

“The fire incidents in our school leave a lot to be desired. It is high time to ask ourselves whether boarding schools are necessary,” said Oparanya.

Ms Muhanda echoed the sentiments saying harsh penalities would serve naughty learners right.

She urged parents to take their parental roles seriously by advising their children regularly to help address indiscipline cases.

Kakamega deputy governor Philip Kutima said students who burn schools punish their parents.

Prof Kutima, a former university lecturer regretted that burning of school would interrupt with learning calendar at the expense of students who will waste a lot of time at home.”

The leaders are demanding thorough investigations into the causes of fires in schools. 

They were speaking at Shitirira village in Malava during the burial of Agneta Ayuma, wife of Chemche ward representative Jason Lutomia.

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