On 6th June 2017, a lorry ferrying stones in Ilmerijo lost control and ended up causing the death of 6 children who were innocently walking home from school.
Four children died on the spot, one died the same day in the hospital and the 6th child, Ziporah Waithera Kiragu who was 6 years old died in Kenyatta National Hospital a few weeks later. I visited the late Ziporah Waithera in Kenyatta Hospital and the sight of the tiny girl in the hospital bed, in a coma left me heart broken.
One year later, very little has been done to guarantee the safety of the Children. Children still use the same road to and from school although some prefer taking a longer route along Oloolua Forest, leaving them prone to hyenas which in the past have killed several men in the area.
Two female teachers from Olkeri Primary School who use the same road daily, told me walking down along the steep road is very scary. The sound of an engine even if it’s a bodaboda scares them.
The fear by the two teachers is indeed genuine. Walking on the road feels like being in a long trench with no escape route in case of emergency. The recent rains has damaged the road further. Road encroachment by land owners could also be a factor. There are no warning signs erected on both ends of the road to caution drivers.
On a positive note, Ilmerijo ECDE School which was funded by Kajiado County Government (2015-2016) is now open and is expected to be officially opened by Governor Lenku soon. The school which has a capacity of 144 students currently has 32 boys and 22 girls who otherwise would be walking along the dangerous road.
The families of the deceased children have yet to receive their compensation. The hearing of the case is due on 8th August 2018 in Ngong Law Courts.
We should all reflect on what we can all do to ensure no other child will die walking to and from school. Drivers kindly drive more cautiously. Lorry owners and drivers kindly follow road safety laws. Traffic police kindly enforce traffic rules. Leaders kindly deliver on the safety promises you made during the funeral of the six children. May the souls of the 6 children rest in peace.
By Michael Mwangi