I am deeply saddened by the news of the accident that occurred this morning at the Precious Talent School in Ngando area, Nairobi following the collapse of a building housing several classrooms that resulted in the death of seven pupils and the injury of many others.
Foremost, on my own behalf and that of the people of Nairobi, I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to the parents, guardians, teachers, pupils and the entire school community on the tragic loss.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all the injured as they receive treatment, and all the pupils as they come to terms with the traumatic incident that they witnessed this morning.
As a parent, I share with you all in the agony, and pray to the Almighty to grant you all strength during this most difficult moment.
I wish also to take this opportunity to state as follows:
- Following numerous complaints from land owners, property developers and the general public against the Nairobi City County Planning Department, I commissioned a comprehensive systems audit that exposed the activities of rogue officials within my administration, who have been flouting the Physical Planning Act and zoning regulations with impunity, while running an extortion ring to provide building approvals that do not meet the set standards.
- Through the audit, I established that on more than one occasion, the rogue officers would switch off the digital system at City Hall to by- pass the official channel in issuing building approvals.
As a result, in August 2019, I suspended the County Chief Officer for Planning, Mr. Justus Kathenge, who was singled-out as the ring- leader of the unlawful and repugnant activities.
In fact, he went ahead to lie to me that the system had been switched off by the World Bank when the audit commenced, an allegation that was refuted by the Bank, as they had handed full access and control over the system to the Planning Department.
On the same breadth, I also disbanded the entire Planning Committee that had been operating with impunity under Kathenge.
It is important to note that I inherited Kathenge, and the entire Planning Committee from the previous administration.
Unlike many Governors who replaced key personnel in critical departments, I extended my goodwill to them, which they abused.
It is also important to note that the inspection and approval of primary and secondary schools falls under the Ministry of Education.
However, this is not the right time to exchange blame, but to take responsibility as leaders.
I therefore wish to offer my personal commitment to work with the Ministry of Education and all relevant national government departments to ensure that such an incident will never occur again.
As your Governor, I wish to assure you all as residents of Nairobi that I will not leave any stone unturned, until we reverse the effects of the impunity that was spearheaded by the Planning Department.
It is unfortunate that this is not the first of this kind of an accident to occur in Nairobi.
However, I am personally committed to ensure that my administration shall demolish ANY building that was constructed or is under construction without proper approvals.
As a government, we shall also pursue the prosecution of any official who shall be found culpable in these violations that have continued to cost human life, while endangering many more lives.
Lastly, I wish to assure the parents and the entire Precious Talent School community of my personal support, and that of my administration, in laying to rest our departed children, treating the injured and also reconstructing the school to ensure minimal interruption to learning at the institution.
God bless you all.
H.E. Mike Mbuvi Sonko, EGH Governor, Nairobi City County