MANDERA, Kenya, Feb 3 – Twenty workers from a quarry in Mandera are facing jail terms of six months each or fines of Sh60,000 for disobeying an order to leave their workplace due to insecurity.
Resident Magistrate Dancun Mtai observed that although the offence they faced was a misdemeanor, their conduct was a threat to their lives and that of Mandera people in general.
“Whilst the events of December 2014 were still clear in their minds, the accused persons proceeded to disobey a lawful order of the OCPD Mandera East to stay away from the quarries,” ruled the magistrate.
He said their conduct should be discouraged to ensure that security is maintained and unnecessary loss of life avoided.
The quarry workers had been out on bond following their arrest on January 25.
They told the court that police arrested them as they waited for their contracted vehicle to relocate them but realised it had a mechanical problem.
“We could not walk all the way to town because the roads are unsafe,” one of the accused Simon Kimani told the court.
Mandera security agencies have issued orders barring miners from spending the nights at quarries after 36 miners were killed late last year.
When 36 miners were killed last year, Deputy President William Ruto defended the government stating that the victims had been asked to vacate the quarries.
The court decision was issued as hundreds of teachers held a demonstration to Parliament to demand its intervention after the government declined to transfer them from Mandera over insecurity concerns. READ: Teachers from Mandera stage protest to Parliament.
The teachers vowed that they will not report to their work stations where their colleagues were executed by Al Shabaab militants last year.
“We know the MP stays in Nairobi… so there is no way that he can tell us to go back there and even if we are being sacked, we are prepared to stick it out,” said Esther Wanjuhi one of the teachers.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) stated that it will decide the fate of the teachers Wednesday following an assessment in the schools located in the region.