Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has defended a plan to relocate one of the most iconic schools from Kisumu Town to pave the way for the reorganization of the city.
The Governor had indicated that Kisumu Boys (formerly Kisumu School) and Kisumu Girls High schools which are within the city should be moved as part of the zoning of the city under the new plan.
Prof Nyong’o made the statement while reacting to questions posed to him on Kisumu’s proposed urban development during the ninth Africities summit media dinner on May 4, 2022 in Nairobi.
But Governor Nyong’o in a statement sent to newsrooms indicated that the report created an impression that a final decision had been made and that the schools must be moved to Kibos, in the outskirts of the city.
He indicated that some people did not get the gist of his statement and have been recklessly misrepresenting the facts with a lot of negative energy.
“The said relocation of Kisumu Boys and Kisumu Girls High schools has been raised in many professional forums, the latest being in a report on the “Transforming Kisumu City through enhanced urban aesthetics”.
These are, however, mere proposals as validation and public participation are yet to be undertaken,” said the County Boss.
The proposal to move the schools had attracted sharp reactions from various quarters including Kisumu Boys and Kisumu Girls School’s alumni who had threatened to go to court to stop the move.
Residents were however torn between having the learners go to a more serene place devoid of noise pollution, drugs, and exposure to accidents owing to the busy traffic on Kisumu Kakamega Road and the Kisumu Bus Park.
But the governor stated that the debate on whether or not to relocate the schools is an important conversation that must not be trivialized or wished away adding that the on-going transformation of Kisumu, in line with the geophysical and spatial plan.
“It is wrong to misinterpret my comments to insinuate that learning institutions are less important in society. As a scholar and public administrator, I know the value of education. Schools need a calm and friendly environment far from the noise in the cities,” said the Governor.
He indicated that the ongoing transformation should be supported because it is aimed at revamping the city’s infrastructure, the economy, waste management system and provision of adequate housing for residents.
“I support the idea of schools sharing facilities to save on land use. Each school has a field, a swimming pool and other amenities that have occupied land. Why don’t we take them to an area where schools share these amenities? We don’t need to have a field for each school in a town. We need a cost-effective use of land. This should be a subject for debate,” said Governor Nyong’o.
He pointed out that in the proposed plans, his administration is envisaging an integrated, resilient and sustainable urban life.
According to him, the central theme of ninth Africities Summit to be held in Kisumu County next week is the role of intermediary African cities in the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the African Union Agenda 2063.
The Kisumu county boss indicated that both the United Nations and African Union recognize that African towns and cities will host more people than the continent’s rural areas in the next two decades, bringing into sharp focus the level of preparedness of the urban centres to provide for the large populations.
These populations, according to the county Boss, will need food, shelter, security, healthy environments to live in, an efficient transportation system, reliable, cost-effective and clean energy, social amenities and employment opportunities.
“This is why I am calling for an honest debate whether we need to have highly populated schools at the centre of cities where they occupy large tracts of land, large parts of which remain unused,” said the governor.
He appealed to parents, leaders and urban planners to discuss the issue soberly and constructively, warning that there was a risk of killing an idea whose time has come, because of politics.
He added that the planning and consultations on whether or not to relocate some of these schools are expected to continue until 2030 meaning there is still enough time to make right decisions.
The county boss pointed out that there residents will be given ample time to give their views on this matter.
The school Principal Mr Erick Duya, however maintained that he did not want to drag the school into the debate saying they are concentrating on delivering an academic year in six short months.