Kenya: Seven Schools Shut in Embu Over Unrest

Students of more than seven schools in Embu have gone on rampage since last week demanding to be allowed to go for midterm break. Students from St Paul Kevote and St Teresa Girls Kithimu in Embu Wes are the latest to go on strike.St Teresa Girls students rioted on Sunday and spent the night outside school. They were sent home yesterday. St Paul Kevote students went on rampage on Sunday night, destroying school property. Riot police officers to intervene and disperse them with teargas before forcing them to free from school. On hearing that their counterparts at the neighbouring St Paul Kivote had rioted, St Teresa students went to join them. Other schools which have gone on the rampage since Friday are Nguviu Boys High School in Embu North, Kavutiri Boys Secondary School in Embu East, Kamama Boys Secondary School in Embu North, and Kirimari Boys Secondary school in Embu West.

The first school to go strike was Kigonge Boys who demonstrated against their principal last Friday for allegedly being highhanded and refusing them to go for the mid-term break. Kavutiri Boys also smashed windows with stones before they were sent home on Friday while Nguviu Boys also rioted the same day. Kamama Boys Secondary Schools students were sent home on Saturday after attempting to burn down the institution after they were denied midterm break.

The Kamama principal Geoffrey Gatama said that he sent the students away after they threated to set the school on fire. Sources at the school said that the boys started complaining that they were home sick. The sources said petrol bombs were discovered in the school compound. Two boys were reportedly arrested after being allegedly suspected to have been the one who had sneaked them into the school allegedly with the plan of burning up the school. Embu West district Education board chairman who is also the area district commissioner Daniel Obudo said St Paul Kevote and St Teresa Girl schools students could have been influenced by the striking students in the neighboring Embu North and East district.

He lamented that the students were discovered to have been communicating with mobile phones thus influencing each other asking principals to be quite cautions with allowing students to have mobile phones at schools. Embu police boss Gasper Makau said that the police had not yet received the report about the arrest of the two boys after the rioting and their sending them away.

In all the schools the rampages were caused by form threes and that form fours who are doing their Kenya Certificates of Secondary Examination (KCSE) were left behind. Only forms fours were left in the school to continue preparing for the national exams. The rampages comes in the wake of another strike by Rwika Technical institutin Mbeere South District who boycotted a week ago protesting at what they described as badly cooked food.

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