Parents in Kenya’s north threaten to keep kids away from schools over insecurity

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha was accused by teachers of being "high headed and arrogant"

Schools in Baringo, Turkana, Garissa and Pokot counties cited as no-go areas by parents

By The Weekly Vision

Several heads of schools in insecurity prone areas of northern Kenya are crying foul of how the recently concluded Form 1 selection was conducted, claiming that the system discriminated against their young ones in that they were selected to report to schools in areas without proper security measures in place.

Parents now say they would rather keep their kids “at home and out of school” than gamble with their kids’ lives. Others said at the worst they would seek “secure” private schools than attempt to go to areas where even “angels fear to tread”.

School heads in the region blame the government for failing to carry out its cardinal duty of protecting lives and property of the citizen

Parents told The Weekly Vision openly that they would not allow their children to join schools in cattle rustling-prone counties of Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot. Others said the Alshabah “terror hotspots” of Mandera, Garissa and Wajir were “no go areas” to them. School heads in the region blame the government for failing to carry out its cardinal duty of protecting lives and property of the citizen. They said the negative “stigma and profiling” of some schools as “no-go areas” was the unfortunate proof “if any was needed” that the government was no longer “in control” of some parts of the republic.

Teachers claimed Magoha’s “arrogance” and Matiangi “chest-thumping” antics had done little to improve the security situation in the far-flung semi-arid northern frontiers areas of Kenya

The school heads further accused Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha of “high headed and arrogant” whenever insecurity issues are broached. They said Magoha only pays a visit for a day to concerned schools then announces they are “safe. Yet glaring insecurity situation in the semi-arid north is there for all to see, adding that interior cabinet secretary Fred Matiangi had failed to contain cattle rustling. Teachers claimed Magoha’s “arrogance” and Matiangi “chest-thumping” antics had done little to improve the security situation in the far-flung semi-arid northern frontiers areas of Kenya.

Kenya’s north is home to heavily armed cattle bandits who kill and main without provocation

How do they expect us to take our children to schools like in Turkana where mothers have been seen roaming around with guns, guarding classrooms against attacks by cattle rustlers? “It is foolhardy for education managers to fail to appreciate the harsh reality some schools face,” said an angry school head who spoke to our writer on condition he’s not named.

Others said Baringo was an “environmental black spot” after over 20 schools were drowned by the rising water levels from lake Baringo when it broke its banks early this year following a heavy downpour. Students had to be rescued from the deep waters when classrooms were submerged. Many residents in the regions cited cases like in Elgeyo Marakwet where ruthless cattle rustlers had shot and killed school children on their way home from schools.

 They poured cold water on an order by CS Matiangi about disarmament in cattle rustling areas saying the bandits were adept at concealing weapons or migrating briefly to border areas in South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda. They later sneak back to continue their “terror attacks” to steal cattle and kill whoever stands in their way.

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