Pupils abandon school as rustlers rain havoc

This photo taken on June 27, 2017 shows an empty classroom at Tetu wa Mburi Primary School in Laikipia County. Insecurity has caused pupils to skip school. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Property and lives have been lost in the area due to conflicts between the Maasai, Turkana and Kikuyu communities.
  • Independent governorship candidate Ndiritu Muriithi blames incumbent Joshua Irungu for doing little to address the problem.

A drawn-out conflict between communities in Laikipia County has left a primary school with just one pupil.

Located about 200 kilometres from Nanyuki Town, Tetu wa Mburi Primary School parents talk of alienation, hunger and fear as they fight insecurity.

The area is sparsely populated. Wary young and old men escort their sheep and cattle to grazing fields.

NO TEACHERS
During a visit by the Nation team at the school late last week, only one pupil was present, with no teacher in sight.

Except for Standard One, the other classrooms were all locked.

The 12-year-old girl kept jumping in and out of the classroom.

From all indications, the classrooms were at times used as kitchens since most had utensils and hearthstones.

CONFLICT
The staffroom was open but empty while the head teacher’s office was locked.

The school has two government teachers and closes at noon.

Property and lives have been lost in the area due to conflicts between the Maasai, Turkana and Kikuyu communities.

Tetu wa Mburi Primary School was started in 1992 with a population of more than 200, according to residents.

RESIDENTS ESCAPE
Mr Duncan Kariuki says his six children sat their national examinations at the institution.

“About a 100 households settled here bought land for the school in the early 1990s but only about 20 now remain. Cattle rustlers are driving us away,” he said.

The bandits strike at night. Two women lost their lives recently in attempt to defend their families and animals.

Tetu North and Kiamukii villages supplied the school with pupils but the areas are now almost devoid of humanity.

A pupil of Tetu wa Mburi Primary School in Laikipia County looks through a window on June 27, 2017. Other pupils avoided school due to insecurity. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

BANDITRY
Locals, almost all of them farmers, say herders drive animals into their land, leaving them with nothing.

“We are always on guard. A majority of the people have moved out of this place because of insecurity,” Mr Kariuki said.

The nearest primary schools — Mwituria and Munyaka — are seven kilometres away and are not affected by banditry.

“We need to revive this school because our children cannot walk for 14 kilometres daily,” Ms Rosemary Wagaki said.

PASTORALISTS
Independent governorship candidate Ndiritu Muriithi blames incumbent Governor Joshua Irungu for doing little to address the problem.

“We need permanent solutions to these problems. Temporary deployment of law enforcers does not help,” he said, adding that the fights were mainly because of land, water and pasture.

Mr Onesmus Musyoki, the county commissioner, denied reports that the school is on its deathbed.

“The parents are nomads and usually move away with their animals and children whenever a drought hits the area,” he said, adding that the number of pupils would increase in the onset of the rainy season.

SOLUTIONS
The county chief contradicted residents when he said the school had never presented candidates for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations.

“Tetu wa Mburi is usually a feeder to Mwituriri and Wamura primary schools,” he said.

However, Mr Musyoki added that the government is taking insecurity seriously and had deployed 10 police officers and a patrol vehicle to the area.

“We are also encouraging dialogue between the communities. This, we hope, will promote sustainable and long-term solutions to insecurity,” the administrator said.

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