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Kenya

MPs support use of children in protests

According to Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu and Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja, the strategy was to get the government to act after ignoring the issue for a long time/FILE

According to Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu and Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja, the strategy was to get the government to act after ignoring the issue for a long time/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 20 – Two Members of Parliament now say there was nothing wrong for demonstrators to involve school children in Monday’s protest at Lang’ata Road Primary School where they were tear-gassed.

According to Vihiga MP Yusuf Chanzu and Nominated MP Johnson Sakaja, the strategy was to get the government to act after ignoring the issue for a long time.

“It was right for those children to stand out for their rights because if people kept quiet yesterday (Monday) this fence would still be up,” said Sakaja.

This comes after a section of Kenyans raised concerns as to whether demonstrators were justified to involve school children in Monday’s protest, which led to several students being rushed to hospital after anti-riot police officers used teargas to disperse the demonstrators.

Speaking at Lang’ata Road Primary School, Sakaja said that the issue would have spread to other areas if those children had not stood up for their rights as there was no other way of solving the issue amicably because the land grabbers didn’t acquire it amicably either but it has to stop at some point.

“It is very sad that the children had to do what they did and got injured but it had to take those children for the government to realise that this was a serious matter,” the Vihiga MP argued.

However the school’s Deputy Head Teacher Jane Waweru could not explain how the pupils got involved in the demonstration, only saying they were out playing.

“The children were out for a tea break and when they saw the perimeter wall they got curious on what is happening on the other side since the land belonged to them as playground,” she told Capital FM News.

The Law Society of Kenya is already conducting an investigation to establish circumstances under which police tear gassed the school children, with President Uhuru Kenyatta warning of action against those culpable.

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”Following our investigations there are particular actions that would follow, so if we find there were particular individuals who used children to demonstrate and compromised them into violation then we will have to hold them culpable.”

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