Members of the public streamed in large numbers at Bukhungu stadium to pay their last respect to the 14 pupils who perished at Kakamega Primary school following a stampede that ensued when the pupils were getting ready to go back home.
Kakamega county Governor Wycliffe Oparanya led other leaders in mourning. In attendance were western region leaders Moses Wetangula , Musalia Mudavadi, Women rep Elsie Muhanda, MPs Chris Wamalwa, Ayub Savula, Ben Shinali, Governors Mwangi Wa Iria, Ali Roba, Stephen Sang’, Jackson Mandago among other leaders.
Grief and sorrow engulfed the air as the bodies of 13 pupils made their way into the stadium.
Leaders took to the stage to express their dissatisfaction in the manner in which the incident was handled calling for reforms in the education sector.
“As we stand here we are mourning avoidable deaths of our children. Avoidable because if care was taken we wouldn’t be here,” said Moses Wetangula in his opening remarks.
“I want to urge the national government that is in charge of education that the same way you renew licenses for traders in this country…We want to see a certificate of approval and compliance in every school to accommodate and teach our children, that they have enough toilets, security and teachers,” he continued.
Wetangula said that the incident was an act of gross management adding that the society had lost a part of the generation for the future.
Governor Jackson Mandago said that the counties can partner with the ministry of education to ensure that inspection is done before occupation.
Kuppet chair Amboko Milemba emphasized that there were no safety guidelines in schools and that schools need security prefects.
Wilson Sossion KNUT secretary General echoed Wetangula’s sentiments stating that there should be public health report from the ministry of education on every school.
He recommended school infrastructure to be enhanced and funding to be channeled through county government to support education. He insisted that someone was responsible for the deaths of the children and the pupils died out of the ministry of education not guiding the school properly.
Governor Wycliffe Oparanya in his speech said that the deaths were a big blow to Kakamega County and conveyed condolences to the bereaved school and family. He also acknowledged that the school consistently recorded remarkable results since 2015.
He further thanked UNICEF, World Vision, ST John’s ambulance and Kenya counseling Psychologists for their quick response towards the incident.
Education PS, Belio Kipsang’ read a statement on behalf of the ministry and national government. He urged the parents to allow the pupils to resume school on Monday and also wished the learners quick recovery.
He assured the public that the government was investigating the stampede and will release the report. He promised counseling sessions will continue to the affected pupils and family.
Kakamega primary school has a total of 3128 pupils and 296 in the ECD. 14 pupils lost their lives during the stampede while 39 pupils were injured and rushed to Kakamega General Hospital. Among those who died 9 were girls while 5 were boys.