- The National Assembly Chief Whip instead blamed the media reports to his opponents who he claimed had unleashed a propaganda scheme to tarnish his name.
NAIROBI, Kenya, January 21, 2020 – Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, a close ally of Deputy President William Ruto has scoffed at media reports that pupils in his constituency were swimming their way to school.
A furious MP said the work of a legislator is not to construct bridges at all. “Please do yourself a favour by acquitting yourself with the job description of a Member of Parliament. It does not include construction of bridges, which is the work of the national and county governments,” said the MP on phone when contacted by The Sun Weekly.
The National Assembly Chief Whip instead blamed the media reports to his opponents who he claimed had unleashed a propaganda scheme to tarnish his name.
Citizen Television on Monday aired shocking news item with small kids forced to swim across a river to go to school because a make shift bridge they used was swept away and no one has thought of fixing it.
This has become the norm for some school children in Mumias East, Kakamega county. A makeshift bridge they were using was washed away in December by floods, forcing them to swim across River Lusumu to get to school.
The journey to school for pupils of Petros Primary School requires them to have swimming skills. According to the report 30 per cent the pupils literally swim to and from school every day a task that is slowly affecting their performance.
“Hawafiki shuleni wakati unaofaa kwa sababu ya kukosa daraja… wanaanza masomo karibu saa tatu, saa tatu na nusu,” said Wilberforce Wabuti, the school principal.
One of the students spoke to Citizen TV and narrated how they have to swim across without their uniform, holding their school books above the head so that they don’t get wet. “Tunatoa uniform tunavukisha, alafu tunarudia vitabu, tunarudi tunavukisha wale wadogo ndio twende shule,” Tekla Lumbas said.
Her schoolmate Dorcas Awinja added: “Saa zingine asubuhi tunapata kama maji iko mingi tunangoja kidogo ndio tupite.”
The local community foresaw the challenge in December last year when floods washed away the makeshift bridge. Other routes have proved challenging not only for pupils of Petros Primary but also other schools in the area.
“The only bridge is almost 7km from here,” said Ernest Wasike, a parent.
George Opondo, another parent, lamented saying: “Mwanafunzi anavuka saa tisa ya usiku akisindikizwa na mzazi ni jukumu kubwa kwa wanafunzi wanaosoma na wazazi.”
However, the inconvenience is just a tip of the iceberg.
“The waves could wash away the small kids and teenage pregnancies may occur because the bigger boys help the younger girls to cross naked,” said Wilberforce Wabuti, the Petros Primary School principal.
Pupils from at least six schools in the area have been affected: last year, two pupils from neighboring Bumini Primary School died while crossing this river.
Others have been forced to transfer to far off schools to escape the daily swim to school.
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