Photos:Angry parents close Nairobi-Nakuru highway, protest school land grabbing
Parents of a local public primary school faulted the Ministry of Lands in Kenya for not coming to their aid and watching from their offices, despite the powers they hold to tackle the problem of land injustices that include land grabbing.
The parents of pupils of the PCEA Mama Ngina Primary School voiced their grievances through a three hours demonstration outside their school that included invading the supposed grabbed land and also closing the busy Nairobi-Nakuru highway for more than one hour.
The parents said they were tired of the conduct of the school trustees, the Presbyterian Church, which they alleged had illegally constructed a private secondary school on the public land the parents wanted to develop a public secondary school.
Carrying twigs and placards with messages challenging the slowness of the Ministry of Lands and Land Commission officers and also the church, the parents vowed not to let the students admitted in the PCEA Kinoo Girls (allegedly owned by the church) continue with learning.
“We will be coming here every morning if need be until the church can surrender the land back to us. They can demolish their buildings if need be but we want a public secondary school in the area for our children to attend, since there is no such institution here,” said Esther Wangari, a parent.
The parents also called on the intervention of President Uhuru Kenyatta and her mother Mama Ngina Kenyatta, since the name was named in honour of her.
Another parent Leonard Njuguna said, “We had 168 primary school candidates last year, and many still do not have a secondary to join, but if we had a public secondary school around they would not be stuck at home.”
Mr Njuguna asked the church to exercise their moral authority on themselves as an institution and surrender that which was not rightfully there property.
Speaking on behalf of the church, Rev Geoffrey Gathairu said, “I cannot speak about the protest today, because among those protesting I spotted some of my church members and I will hate to be divisive by siding with my ‘sheep’ and leaving others out. Secondly, I will not speak about the matter since it is before a court of law and the next hearing will be on March 2.”
Rev Gathairu, however, said the protest was non-chaotic with the area police officers watching over to avoid any cases of violence.
The protest only came to an end after the Kikuyu Deputy County Commissioner Elias Kithaura and a tuck load of police officers came to the scene of the demonstration. The police removed the tires, stones and other materials used to close the highway.
“I was on my way to another meeting when I was informed that the highway was closed for an hour by angry parents, and came this way. I know the issue of the land here and the reasons behind your protest are genuine, but it was wrong to cross the highway since it is a major road for Africa,” said DCC Kithaura.
There was a huge traffic jam that stretched for kilometres into Kangemi and Westlands.
DCC Kithaura also assured the parents that he was chairman of the area education board, and the said PCEA Kinoo Girls was unregistered because of the ongoing land dispute.
“Even the education officers at the ministry do not recognise the school because it is unregistered but I ask of you not to take the law in your hands since I hear there is a case in court, let us wait for the high court to revoke the alleged false title the church holds and you can have a public secondary school there as you want,” said DCC Kithaura.
The public primary school, PCEA Mama Ngina Primary School sits on abouts seven acres and the other side of the land where parents want a secondary school established is about five acres.
By Anne Njeri Kanina:HTBluff Associates. An EMG Consortium #HTBLUFF/Diaspora Messenger Contributor