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Mohammed Hersi: Open Letter To Students Burning Schools

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Dear Student,

This might come as surprise but you really are not the first human to “dorn” the title “student” in Kenya. Let me point out that at some point in our lives we were also 14 and 15 years old.

Now as you exercise your stupidity by burning your school,please note that this is happening in rural areas where most of you are in all honesty ‘’of humble background”.That means your hardworking parents are far from rich but they are trying to give you the only avenue out of poverty and how do you thank them?

By burning the only means of emancipation from financial depravity that they can offer. Calling you a moron would be polite. In case it hasn’t occurred to you, your fellow rich kids in posh schools even public ones are going on with their classes.

We had issues as well. But we had listened to our parents and learnt an art since lost, the art of communicating. Of being able to express ourselves without resorting to idiotic violent means. If the Headmaster failed to listen ,there was always the District Education Officer, now under the County Government,(but you wouldn’t know that since you burnt all the books).In extreme cases parents were involved.

I recall walking from Meru School to Meru Town with my classmates to seek audience with the District Education head then and he did help us resolve our issues.

Fast forward to 2018 , you now have loads of luxuries we never used to have . In our days even a kiosk on site was such a luxury . Many things you take for granted were privileges then.

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As a student it is NONE of your business who should be the school head or Principal. At your age, your only job is to study and make proper use of the 4 years. Once you leave school everyone will be on their own. Trust me the 4 years are everything. Time flies unless you want to remain under your parents’ roof forever.

If a fellow student or even an adult is trying to influence you to torch your school , please refuse and report them to the authorities . Even better reach to
your parents and tell them.

The world has close to 7Billion people and we are around 50 Million of us in Kenya. The world owes you NOTHING besides you found it here. The fact that you can read and write means you can understand and weigh what is right and what is wrong and criminally wrong.

Take a quick glance and you will see 90% of the schools going up in smoke are village schools where your parents are already poor enough . I am addressing you as a Kenyan who came from a humble background similar to most of you.

Do you know that your poor parent will still be made to make good the damage you have caused ?

Some of you believe that you can switch schools , I hope you now realise that no school will accept a young criminal if anything you should be in jail. DCI has already issued a warning ” Ifikiemastudents”

Let me now tell you some the hard truths .

1. Exams will happen whether you like it or not . I am made to understand you will sit the exam even under a tree if you remembered to plant trees that is.

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2. If you never prepared you will fail .This exam is the main foundation of your life.

3. The school principal you are rejecting because he or she is not a local will continue to be your school principal. Let me tell you that 90% of my teachers were not from my community or my region. It is said a fool who only eats his mother’s cooking thinks she is the best cook.

4. To torch a school is not an easy thing , you must be high on something and I know that it only takes 5 bad boys to do it. Majority are good hence you must stand up for what is right and be a voice of reason .

Don’t try to be some Hollywood actor by torching your school or savagely attacking your teachers. It’s barbaric to even insult your teacher let alone lay your hand on them.

If you physically harm a teacher rest assured that full force of the law will hit you and hit you hard. If you can commit the crime then you can also serve the term in prison and that is where you belong . In prison you will meet others like you who will teach you a lesson. The world will not come to a stop because you have been jailed , remember we are 7Billion + on mother earth.

To parents please don’t try to help your rogue child escape justice . Continue burying your head in sand , they’ll eventually kill you. Protecting a rogue boy is totally wrong.

To the adult mafia behind the unrest you should be ashamed of yourself. Trust me your days are numbered .

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If you are an adult reading this please share with that 15 and 16 year old who needs some serious reality check and mental reset.

#Mtihani Mtafanya Penda Msipende.
Stick to your lane and be a good respectful responsible God fearing youngster.

Good Luck and God bless.

Mohammed Hersi

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Tale of misery, hopelessness of the landless Kibwezi Ngulia :: Kenya

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Kioko Mutua stands next to his ‘house’. He is taller than the house that he squeezes self in to sleep.

For more than four decades, they have lived in squalor. They have been abandoned by successive governments and short-changed by leaders, with empty promises of finding them alternative land.

The more than 2,000 squatters in Kibwezi West in Makueni County have for years lived in shanties, adults having to share makeshift beds with their children.

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Their troubles began in 1976 when the Government gazetted Ngai Ndethya as a game reserve and rendered those settled there landless.

According to Wandia Mutungi, 88, they were among 5,000 people who were evicted from Kyulu ranges in 1987 to create space for wildlife conservation.

Ms Mutungi said in 1992, some of those evicted were given land at Masongaleni, Kibwezi, Kiboko ‘A’ and ‘B’ settlement schemes that were created for the squatters. However, not all the displaced persons were allocated land.

Weak sticks

From a distance, one can confuse the structures with manyattas, if not for seemingly weak sticks they stand on. They are grass-thatched, while others are covered with black polythene papers.

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We peep into one of the smoke-stained structures. Inside an old man sits on a stone closely watching as something cooks in a pot on a three-stone fire. He refuses to let us in. His neighbours tell us he would not open for fear that children might stream in to beg for his little meal.

The delay in creating settlement schemes has subverted the locals and crippled agriculture. Most of the squatters have no land to till, while others have pieces measuring 10 steps by 25, which cannot yield much.

“I had planted hundreds of mango trees in Kyulu before eviction. Now I’m forced to make use of a piece measuring only 10 by 25 steps here,” said Mutungi.

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Lutha Kakui, one of the few men in the camp, has pleaded with the Government for land, wondering who, between wild animals and the people, are more important?

“We border a wildlife conservation reserve and a research centre (Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation) that keeps animals,” said Mr Kakui.

He is considered rich, for he owns an old bicycle that doubles up as the locals’ ambulance and also transports them to Makindu market.

There are 79 people in the compound. Many of them are old men and women abandoned in the shacks by their children. Many youthful sons and daughters of the squatters are said to move to neighbouring Kajiado County to do irrigation work. Many never return.

We meet two girls who have dropped out of primary school after giving birth. The younger one yearns for education. She hopes to save her parents from poverty.

At this place, they have also formed a welfare group “Umiisyo wa wildlife” to voice their grievances.

“We formed this group to assist one another and lobby,” says Magaret Katunge, the group’s chair.

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Some five kilometres southwards is ‘Boma 5’ alias Kalembe Raha. It was created by former Kibwezi MP Kalembe Ndile.

Here the situation is dire. Irresponsible sexual behaviours are rampant. Even school girls are said to flee their homes for fear of sharing beds with their fathers.

Some have become beggars and other street children in Makindu town. Mutua Musilu, a local, says several others prostitute on the Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

To the north of ‘Boma 4’ is Katia village, where squatters live in fear of attacks from elephants and Kenya Wildlife rangers.

“We are suffering as squatters, but in addition to that, rangers come in the middle of the night and arrest you. They accuse you of hunting game. We can’t grow anything, all the crops are destroyed by wild animals. We never get compensation,” said Onesmus Manthi, a father of five.

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Milcah Mueni, a mother of 10, shares a shanty with her two daughters-in-law and when their husbands come they are forced to sleep in lodgings in Makindu before returning to work.

It is not a house – the structure has no beds, they sleep on the dusty floor, and they close their structure with an old-tattered cloth. There are no pit-latrines.

Mueni says floods washed away her six goats and chickens, her only source of livelihood.

The suffering locals say they have no place to bury the dead, no means of transporting the bodies as they ferry them in carts to the only cemetery located 10kms in Makindu town, which has no space.

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Baobab trees

The squatters have criticised the Government for promising to find them land. Their hopes have been fading 55 years on. They say they are tired of politicians maximising on their plight every electioneering period.

Most of the poor homeless Ngulia people blame influential Ukambani politicians who grabbed large tracts of land leaving majority of the people squatters scattered in various regions in the former larger Kibwezi.

Some of the squatters say they originated from Ngai Ndethya, past Mtito Andei.

The Ngulias’ sufferings started in 1836. According to Lindblom and Hobley’s book, The Akamba of British East Africa, they were the indigenous Kamba of Kikumbulyu.

As Lindblom and Hobleys explain, the Ngulias migrated to the southwest before settling between Taveta and Lake Jipe near the Pare mountains and later moved to Tanzania stretching from Musi Valley, Usambara and the Maramba region.

Reportedly, a large number of these people remained in Kikumbulyu, the area between River Kiboko in the north and Kyulu Hills in the west.

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Between 2002 and 2006, there was a policy research project by the Masongaleni Community Organisation for Sustainable Development (Macosud) highlighting the plight of the landless Nguliapeople, who lived under baobab trees. 

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Parts of the Jacobus Kiilu-led Macosud research read that when the East African Scottish missionaries, led by Dr James Steward, arrived in Kibwezi in 1891, the Ngulia Akamba were there.

Further, there were documented agreements between the missionaries and the Ngulia under the rule of Kilundo in 1891. The report says the Ngulia, who form part of the biggest population of Kibwezisquatters, had their settlements centered near water points, water courses, hills and raised rocks.

The two-year research found that the Ngulias’ troubles started in the late 1890s and 1900s after missionaries settled in Kibwezi.

“In a blink, the whites initiated a tactical eviction of the Ngulia people. According to existing records, when Tsavo West National Park was established. The Ngulia people were moved from River Tsavo, passed Mzima water catchment area and settled at River Mtito Andei,” said Mr Kiilu.

Chronologically, in 1902, there was the Crown Lands Ordinance, which restricted Ngulia people to the Kikumbulyu Native Reserve, which included Kyale, a region near river Kiboko, Mbui Nzau adjacent to Kibwezi town and Kyulu block along the Kyulu ranges.

Kyulu block reportedly had more than 5,000 people.

The research document points out that in 1932 the colonial district commissioner paid a visit to Kikumbulyu reserve, something that intensified the Ngulia people’s problems.

Records indicate that he proposed that Kamba people from Kyulu block were suffering from drought and they were to be moved to Kyale, near Kiboko River.

The contents of the Carter Land Commission, 1932, states that they agreed to go-by the DC recommendations for the Kyulu residents to be moved north of the railway line.

 

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Murang’a woman commits suicide after daughter’s death :: Kenya

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A woman has committed suicide two days after the burial of her daughter.

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The body of Leah Wangui Mugo, 36, was found hanging from the roof of her bedroom on Thursday night, two days after her daughter Sarah Nungari was buried in Kanjama village, Mathioya sub-county.

The Form Two student at Kiria-ini Mixed Secondary School had hanged herself on September 11, after she quarreled with her mother over money she demanded to pay for an educational trip.

Mary Wanjau, a local, said Nungari committed suicide after she was slapped by her mother, who accused her of being rude.

“After she was slapped, she moved away. Her body was later discovered hanging from the roof of her room,” Ms Wanjau said. Villagers said the girl was reserved. “She rarely interacted with other people,” a neighbour said.

Kiria-ini Chief Francis Mwangi said Francis Mugo, Wangui’s husband, had informed him that his wife suffered depression after the death of their daughter. He wanted the chief to give him advice on how to handle the problem. 

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But the administrator said Mugo did not visit him on Thursday as had been agreed.

“On the material day, I passed near their farm and saw the couple being helped by friends to pluck green tea leaves,” the chief said.

Mr Mugo had approached several other people  for advice to help his wife out of the depression. 

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THE CUTTING EDGE

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The tow trucks and forklifts usually parked at the Cabanas interchange on Mombasa Road, Nairobi, are an eyesore.

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