Pupils stranded as school is demolished in Rarieda over land tussle

Written By: KNA

Images of demolished structures at Golden Heart Academy in Rarieda Sub County.

Over 270 pupils of Golden Heart Academy in Rarieda Sub-County are unable to resume learning after their school was demolished on Monday night in a dispute over land.

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Pupils who reported back to school after nine months following Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020, met with a rude shock when they saw their classrooms, administration block as well as latrines demolished.

The school proprietor, Mrs. Jane Atieno Ogada who addressed the media said the destruction of structures at the institution is as a result of a protracted land tussle that is currently before court.

 Mrs Ogada has accused Mr. Omolo Shikuku who is an Assistant County Commissioner for Turkana West for being behind the demolitions that has left pupils with no classes to resume learning.

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Ogada said Shikuku who is a relative of the family which sold her the land where the school was built in 2014, has been sending her threatening text messages asking her to vacate the land or be forcefully evicted.

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The school proprietor disclosed that she has previously reported the matter to the police and Rarieda Director of Education, Mr. Cornelius Mbuthi who settled the matter between the two parties by asking the school to continue operations, as it awaits the court’s ruling on succession of the land.

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Ogada stated that property worth Sh1.2 million, including text books and thermo-guns have been destroyed following the demolition and asked the government to intervene in the matter since she legally acquired the piece of land and has documents to prove her case.

Parents of the stranded pupils who were gathered at the school to witness the incident condemned the demolition, saying Shikuku has been threatening to use his influence as a government officer to demolish the school since 2019.

They asked the government to come to their aid as the school is the only hope for their children as they do not have an alternative nearby public school.

According to records in the school, Golden Heart academy has 17 KCPE candidates expected to sit the national exams at the end of March. It also had candidates in 2018 and 2019 who posted remarkable results.

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When KNA contacted Mr. Shikuku to respond to the allegations, he confirmed that there is a land tussle, adding that his relatives sold the said part of the family land to Mrs Ogada without following proper succession process, but denied having been involved in the demolition.

Rarieda Education Director, Mr Mbuthi could not however be reached to comment on the matter as his phone remained switched off.

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