Pupils, parents 'recapture' grabbed school land

Naka Primary School pupils destroying a temporary structure erected in a disputed 12.5 acres piece of land. [PHOTO: KIPSANG JOSEPH/STANDARD]

Nakuru, Kenya: Pupils of a primary school in Nakuru County Friday staged a protest over a grabbed land near their school. Naka Primary School pupils brought down temporary structures erected in the disputed 12.5 acres parcel of land.

Armed with crude weapons, the pupils demolished several iron sheet structures spread across the undeveloped piece of land situated adjacent to Lake Nakuru National Park and surrounded by palatial estates.

Angry pupils waving placards and twigs scaled a perimeter wall erected around the land next to their classrooms. The more than 600 pupils were later joined by their parents, residents and teachers as they protested encroachment of their land.

The school chairman Joseph Karu said the parcel of land was allocated to the primary school more than three decades ago adding that parents would not allow the grabber interfere with their children’s future.

“Those behind it are well known and well connected individuals in the society, but as parents it will not be business as usual,” he said.

He said the school was left with only one acre yet it had many pupils.

On Thursday, National Land Commission (NLC) chairman Mohammed Swazuri toured the disputed piece of land and promised to intervene.

Mr Josphat Wachira, a parent, maintained that the land was allocated to the public school in 1975.

Wachira said hired goons erected the wall in December 2013 during campaigns ahead of the last General Election. As the demolition progressed strangers arrived at the site in a private vehicle and took photos of those leading the protest.

There was no deployment of police officers throughout the demonstration that lasted more than two hours.

“The land has been allegedly sold four times, those against it have protested the move at the Ministry of Lands and the county government but nothing has changed,” Wachira complained. Two weeks ago, NLC issued a two-week notice to individuals who have grabbed land belonging to primary schools in Nakuru to  vacate. NLC Chairman said the commission has repossessed grabbed land belonging to Moi, Nairobi Road and Rhino Primary schools and those illegally occupying it should immediately move out.