Gede boys students demonstrate over land encroachment

Gede Secondary school students take to the streets demanding relocation of squatters sitting on the schools land. PHOTO: GRACE MITHAMO.

Kilifi, KENYA: Business along the busy Mombasa-Malindi road came to a standstill following a demonstration staged by  Gede boys students that lasted for the better part of Wednesday morning.

The students were demanding for the  relocation of a family of squatters living in a piece of school land under which they claim was set aside for construction of dormitories and cultivation.

Efforts of their school principal to calm them down bore no fruit as the students made rounds within the school compound under which the squatters occupy and later took to the streets chanting ARDHI YETU, HAKI YETU” loosely translated our land, our right.

Speaking to Baraka FM the students said that they want the family out since the school needs to construct dormitories to  cater for majority who are forced to look for alternative housing outside the school.

According to the students, the school can only host 145 students out of 456.

“We really need this land back. Over 200 students are forced to seek alternative housing around the neighborhood which is affecting our studies. Some students are forced to engage into other activities other than studying due to excessive exposure.” Said one of the students.

The angry students claimed that their lives were in danger as the squatters have for the past few weeks extended their encroachment up to the only dormitory which houses form four students.

They claimed that they are living in constant fear as  a few years ago the school experienced numerous fire outbreaks forcing the administration to abandon the boarding system; after the inquiry report indicated that some fire incidents could have been perpetrated by external forces.

“We are scared that someone might burn us by causing fire while we sleep since the encroachment has been extended to the only dormitory in school that hosts fourth year candidates.” They added.

The board chairman Mr. Kitsao Ngao revealed that the school management had difficulties when it came to construction on the land and that the issue has already scared away potential sponsors; apart from forcing them to remain without much needed structures.

The same time, the school principal Mr. Stephen Nzioki called on relevant institutions to swiftly come in and salvage the situation saying that it is causing bad blood between the squatters and the students.