Kenya: Closure of Mau Schools Postponed to Allow National Examinations

An aerial view of the Mau Forest on August 28, 2019.
3 September 2019

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya has reversed the order to shut down 15 schools at the section targeted for evictions in Maasai Mau forest.

Mr Natembeya said the decision was made in order to allow Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations candidates sit the tests uninterrupted.

GRACE PERIOD

He, however, added that families who have encroached the water tower would still be required to move out at the expiry of the 60-day grace period he announced last week. He said the day coincides with the last day of the national examinations.

Mr Natembeya told the Nation that those without children in the schools should use the period to leave the water tower.

He said if any of the schools in the list have KCPE and KCSE examination candidates, the tests would not be interfered with, adding that most of the institutions are not registered as examination centres.

The schools are Kirobon, Senetwet, Kapsibilwo, Kitoben, Indianit, Kabarak, Noosogami, Chorwet, Ogilgei, Sebetet, Olabai, Koitabai, Chebirbelek, Chebetet and Lelechwet.

The decision by the administrator came just two days after the schools failed to open for third term.

Kenya Forestry Service rangers and police officers have been deployed to the section of the forest even with reports of the security forces issuing warnings to teachers against allowing learners into the schools.

Mr Wilson Kimutai, a local, said the KFS officers moved to the schools as early as 6am, with pupils being turned back.

Mr Kimutai said more than 5,000 children have been affected, adding that residents do not know what to do as most of the schools are public.

"KFS officers came in and took charge of the schools on Monday. They ordered teachers and pupils out," Mr Kimutai said.

Before the reversal of the order, Emurrua Dikirr MP Johanna Ngeno was arrested in Olmekenyu, Narok County.

Police said Mr Ngeno was organising protests against the evictions. The windscreen of his car was smashed. Mr Ngeno and Ololulunga Ward Representative Jefferson Langat were taken to Narok police station.

The arrests came moments after Nominated MP David ole Sankok, Narok County Assembly Speaker Salaniat Nchoe, several ward reps and the Masai Council of Elders came out "to set the record straight" on Maasai Mau Trust land.

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