The government will foot the bill for the funeral of 14 Kakamega Primary School pupils killed in a stampede on Monday night, Deputy President William Ruto has announced.
DP Ruto, who spoke on Tuesday during a visit to the school, said the national government in conjunction with the Kakamega County Government would jointly incur all the costs required to give the children a decent send off.
He also conveyed his condolences to the parents who lost their children during the unfortunate incident, adding that the whole country mourns with them during their time of grief.
“As a national government, and on behalf of all Kenyans, we’re here to stand with the people of Kakamega County, especially the parents who lost their children. We would like you to know that through this very difficult time, we are with you,” he said.
“I have spoken to Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, the national and county governments will come together to ensure that whatever will be needed – financially, and every other arrangement – will be catered for jointly so as to ensure our children are given a worthy send off.”
The DP further urged all the parents to avail themselves as well as all the surviving children for counselling to prevent further mental damage.
“I want to urge all parents that there will be doctors here, even if your child was not injured, many of them will still be affected in one way or the other including psychologically, so counselling is important…because these children have lost their schoolmates, classmates, deskmates and friends,” he stated.
DP Ruto assured the entire school fraternity as well as the people of Kakamega that a commission of inquiry will be formed to get to the bottom of the incident.
In the meantime, he added, “investigations are presently ongoing to enable us know what the problem was and where the loophole is so that we can make sure this tragedy does not happen again to this or any other school in Kenya.”
“Losing 14 children is no joke. We are giving our security team the time to give us a full report so that so that we can ensure nothing that has happened in this school ever happens again,” he stated.
Kakamega Central OCPD David Kabena on Monday told Citizen Digital that the pupils, most of them in Class Five, were leaving their classes heading home when the stampede occurred on a staircase at around 5pm.
40 other pupils, some of whom are alleged to have jumped off the third floor during the bizarre stampede said to have occurred due to panic, were left nursing injuries.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha inspected the scene on Tuesday morning and announced that the school will remain closed for the next one week.
President Uhuru Kenyatta also sent a message of condolence to the families who lost their children in the tragedy and ordered for a thorough investigation to establish the cause of the unfortunate incident.