By Iptisam Abdallah, Kakamega
Parents of the 15 pupils of Kakamega Primary school who died in a deadly stampede three years ago have been awarded Sh1.25 million each by a Kakamega Court.
The pupils succumbed to the injuries they sustained during the stampede that occurred on February 3, 2020.
Kakamega Chief magistrate Linus Kassan ruled that the families should receive the said amount as compensation following a lawsuit filed by victims’ parents against the Attorney General, Kakamega County Attorney and the institution’s board chairman.
The suit was filed by Ibrahim Kiverenge, Jerusha Kiverenge, Joyce Mabuko and Irene Nambundo claimed the government’s compensation for their children’s subjection to premature death arising from dangerous and poor conditions which would have otherwise been mitigated .
The accused were said to have been negligent in ensuring the children’s safety during school hours.
The unfortunate incident ensued on a Monday evening when hundreds of children were running down the narrow and dark stairway heading to their homes.
According to witnesses, a teacher chased the children causing a commotion of pushing and falling that resulted to a stampede that sent them stumbling down after piling on each other.
As a result, 39 succumbed to injuries and were admitted to Kakamega General Hospital while 15 others died on the spot.
Post-mortem reports attributed the death of the 15 pupils to lack of enough supply of oxygen that led to suffocation.
This left the deceased’s parents grief stricken and in disbelief of how a normal school day could turn into a mourning ground.
In his ruling, Linus Kassan found the defendants liable for the minors fatal injuries at a 100 percent liability.
” In my view, the school management are responsible for the care of the minors and bear the greatest responsibility of ensuring that the children are safe and free from harm.” he said.
” They ought to have overseen any danger that may have arisen in case of such an unexpected event being the caretakers of the children during the school going hours. For the above reasons, I find and uphold that the defendants are jointly liable for minors fatal injuries at 100 percent liabilities. The said care and duty was breached causing the death of the innocent minors,” said Kassan
The judgement came as a relief to parents who have awaited for this day after 3 years of court proceedings in the quest for justice.
The school’s board of management, County Director of Education and the Attorney General who has been sued on behalf of the Ministry of Education will pay for costs and interest in the case of court rates.