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Kibaki speaks against students unrest

NAIROBI, August 1 – President Mwai Kibaki Friday lashed out at students behind the recent wave of unrest that has engulfed the country and advised them not to fall prey to a few elements with criminal minds that were behind the disturbances.

The Head of State noted that such behaviour would spoil their chances in life and be an extra burden on their parents.

“The Government will continue to apprehend those involved so that action can be taken against them in accordance with the law,” he said.

President Kibaki stressed that society would not tolerate those who are quick to take the law into their own hands at the slightest excuse. He directed that stakeholders work together to identify and isolate perpetrators of the violence from other disciplined students.

“With regard to the students in our schools, I urge them to maintain high standards of discipline.”

President Kibaki was speaking at State House, Nairobi, where he presented gold certificates to 474 young Kenyans who have completed 18 months of training under the President’s Award Scheme.

He reiterated his earlier advice to parents to closely monitor the conduct of their children to ensure that they were properly counselled and disciplined, and in addition called on teachers to maintain effective channels of dialogue with the scholars to address their concerns promptly.

Separately, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka asked school administrators and teachers to set aside time for informal dialogue sessions with students.

Musyoka said such meetings would allow students a free atmosphere to air their grievances without fear of punishment.

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“Let us give them an opportunity to take off their chests anything disturbing them. That way they won’t have to burn dormitories to get our attention,” Musyoka said.

He decried the recent wave of school strikes and destruction of property, saying it was a worrying trend.

The Vice President was speaking at Kiambere School Complex, Mbeere district during the handing over of the school’s projects, which were renovated by a Non-Governmental Organisation – the African Child – at a cost of Sh3.5 million.

This follows a stern warning that the head of state issued last weekend, calling on the students to end the mayhem.

He has already given a verdict requiring the parents of affected students to pay for the damages.

The Ministry of Education has also ordered for the prosecution of those behind the malicious destruction of school property. Over 100 students have already been arraigned in courts in connection with the strikes.

In addition, these students are to remain out of school for a year.

Other measures taken by the government include the banning of mobile phones and the purchase of buses with DVDs and TVs.

A set of three manuals on management, school safety and peace building are also in the pipeline for use in schools.

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Close to 300 schools are reported to have gone on strike this term with property worth millions of shillings destroyed. A statement from the Education Permanent Secretary last week however indicated that half of these schools had already resumed normal operations.

One student died, while another was badly injured at the Upper Hill School, when students torched a dormitory last month.


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