Journalist barred from covering Mukumu Girls dorm fire

Mukumu Girls

The entrance to Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls in Kakamega County. 

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Journalists from Kakamega received a hostile reception after they were chased out of Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls High School following a fire in one of the school's dormitories.

Angry students, teachers and support staff chased the scribes out, claiming the media was giving the school bad publicity.

The Mukumu dormitory caught fire at around 10.30am on Saturday and as usual, journalists rushed to the school to cover the incident.

A teacher accused the journalists of reporting negatively on the school and announced that their reporting was not justified in the school.

Other members of the school staff joined in as rowdy students rushed towards the journalists.

"Hatutaki media, hatutaki picha (We don't want media, we don't want cameras)," the students chanted.

The journalists were forced to fold their cameras and leave the school.

"I decided to fold my camera and leave the school to save my life because no story is worth my life," said Mr Abel Amala of Media Max.

Mukumu has been in the public spotlight in recent days following an outbreak of disease that claimed the lives of a teacher and three students.

More than 500 students have been hospitalised with symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pains after consuming contaminated food and water.

The school was to be closed indefinitely on 3 April and reopened after five weeks.

Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu, who visited the school on 14 April 2023, dissolved the school's Board of Management (BoM) and replaced it with a new one.

The then headmistress Fridah Ndolo was also removed and replaced by Sister Jane Mmbone Amukoya, who was headmistress of Shikoti Girls Secondary School.

A total of 73 tonnes of the school's grain was destroyed by court order after the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Administration requested that the maize, beans and rice, which were suspected of being toxic, be professionally incinerated.