Investigations on the Kakamega primary school tragedy must be done and completed promptly

Kakamega Primary School. Photo/Courtesy

The County of Kakamega, the Counties of the former Western Province, the nation of Kenya at large are all anxiously waiting for the completion of the investigations and commencement of criminal prosecutions of those culpable for the death of the innocent pupils involved in the Kakamega Primary School tragedy on 4th February 2020. To the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) please do not attempt or permit any cover ups, incompetence and beating about the bush. The investigations must be swift and thorough and professional.

We state without fear of contradiction that there was criminal culpability whether by acts of omission or commission by the school management, the office of the County Director of Education Kakamega County under the national government and the County Government offices in charge of health and infrastructure.

The parents of the innocent children who perished are owed justice from the criminal law perspective (prosecutions, convictions and jailing of those responsible and from the civil law perspective, compensation in monetary damages). These two remedies will not equal the loss of their children but will help bring closure and will also serve as a lesson for those entrusted to ensure the safety, well being of the region’s millions of children in primary, secondary schools and tertiary institutions. We further hope that education managers of the national government entrusted to ensure safe and quality education for the children of the region together with other key stakeholders, being Parents’ Associations, County Ministries involved in education and provision of ancillary services have learned a lesson from the Kakamega primary school tragedy and will ensure all learning facilities are safe, clean and conducive for learners. The casual, armchair approach to learning institutions’ infrastructure from classes, toilet facilities, dormitories, and others must now be a thing of the past.

The region awaits the DCI’s and DPP’s action on those culpable for the deaths of the 15 innocent children. Justice delayed is justice denied?