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Kin of 14 pupils killed in school tragedy to receive Sh290,000

By Nathan Ochunge | February 8th 2020
Caskets bearing remains of the 14 pupils who died in the stampede at Kakamega Primary School. (Benjamin Sakwa, Standard)

The national government will give Sh150,000 as compensation to each family of the 14 pupils who died following the stampede at of Kakamega Primary School.

This is in addition to Sh140,000 given to each of the bereaved families by the Council of Governors.

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said the government will also give the families food stuffs like maize, beans, cooking oil and rice.

The food stuffs will be distributed by Kakamega County Commissioner Pauline Dola and Woman Rep Elsie Muhanda.

Speaking at Bukhungu stadium, yesterday, during the requiem mass for the 14 pupils, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya asked the church to pray for the county following the tragedy.

“We lost seven people in a tragic accident at Iguhu in September 2014 when ferrying home, the body of a relative for burial and in April 2015, we lost eight students during the Garissa University terror attack, 31 people died at Fort Tenan accident in October 2018 and on February 3 we lost 14 pupils,” said Mr Oparanya.

Meanwhile, the government has been asked to form a commission of inquiry to establish what caused the stampede at the school.

The pupils who died are Antonatte Khayumba, Prudence Eliza, Catherine Aloo, Prince Vermaline, Nichole Achola, Venesa Andeso, Fidel Kumbetie, Simon Waweru, Samuel Simekha, Lavenda Akasa, June Nakhumicha, Joseph Mutsami and Bertha Munywele.

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Nailah Kiverenge, was buried on Wednesday according to Muslim rites. The victims were from Kakamega, Vihiga and Nakuru counties.

Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula said the calamity could have been avoided if care had been taken when the building was under construction.

He said before a certificate of approval and compliance is issued to a contractor, due diligence should be conducted to ensure safety of occupants.

“We want Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji to order for an inquiry to establish what caused the stampede which must be chaired by a magistrate and not a police officer and find out whether the error of omission and commission was committed,” said Wetang’ula.

He said those found culpable should be prosecuted and charged with manslaughter.

Adhered to strictly

Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi told the mourners that unscrupulous people use shortcuts to make quick money while endangering innocent lives, saying structural plans and construction standards must be adhered to strictly.

“Before you give a certificate of occupation to buildings in urban areas like schools and other public institutions, caution should be exercised. We have lost 14 lives of future leaders as a result of negligence and selfish interests of an individual who must be held responsible,” said Mudavadi.

The ANC leader said only a commission of inquiry will establish what caused the stampede.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said someone must take responsibility for the Kakamega tragedy.

“Don’t tell us our children died of suffocation. This was negligence from the Education Ministry that has brought congestion in schools due to the 100 per cent transition policy without proper legal framework in place,” said Mr Sossion.

Kuppet Chairman Omboko Milemba also decried the high number of pupils in schools.

“We want Magoha to hearken to our request and call for national conference on safety and security. We want to debate and come up with new security and safety guidelines that will enhance safety of our children in schools,” said Mr Milemba.

He said the government should consider starting a disaster department in schools as well as a security prefect.

Governors Jackson Mandago (Uasin Gishu), Stephen Sang (Nandi), Mutahi Kahiga (Nyeri) Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma) and Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) also took issue with the management of Kakamega Primary School for allowing churches to conduct services at the school.

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo fualted the government for lacking policy on disaster management.

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