By VICTORIA GREEN | NOVEMBER 5th 2016
On Monday September 5th, 2016, Africa Uncensored ran its’ documentary #NotMySchool on KTN News, highlighting the plight of two public schools that are in the process of being forcibly evicted from their land by unscrupulous private developers.
One of the schools highlighted was Mwamdudu Primary, a public school in the heart of Mwamdudu Community, Kwale County. The community, including the school has for the past few years undergone forced evictions by Colfax Ltd, a private company that has illegally laid claim to thousands of acres on which the community and the school lie.
The documentary launched by Africa Uncensored brought to light the inhumane actions of Colfax Ltd in their efforts to evict the community, including using explosive devices, excavating soil from around the public school making it difficult for children to access the school, and making false accusations of terrorist activities against members of the school Board. This led to questions from the public wondering why the County Government hasn’t sought to criminalize the actions of Colfax Ltd, and why the National Government hasn’t stood up to protect the children of Mwamdudu Primary School.
In response to the documentary, Colfax Ltd recently built stairs up the cliffs they created to give children ‘easier’ access to the school.
On Monday, members of the ShuleYangu Alliance visited Mwamdudu Primary, and attempted to climb up and down these “stairs” built by Colfax Holdings Ltd. In doing so, it was evident that the attempts by Colfax Ltd. to provide access to the school for students has in fact made it more difficult for the students to access the school. These stairs are steep, and slippery, making it difficult to use the “stairs” on the man-made cliff.
Further, these actions by Colfax to address accessibility of the school by the children are 1) illegal, and 2) do not address the concerns of the forced evictions being carried out against the community and the school.
Colfax attempts to build stairs for students are in contempt of a court order issued in December 2015, ordering that Status Quo be maintained on the land, until a decision could be made on the ownership of the land. This means that all construction or destruction on, or of the land should have immediately stopped following the order.
However, since the order was issued, Colfax has continued to excavate soil from underneath the school and surrounding community, and continued to set up infrastructure on the land in contempt of the court order. According to law, Directors of the company are therefore liable to be prosecuted and be imprisoned for a period of up to six months.
In light of this, it is therefore alarming that the Company has not been held liable for failing to adhere to a court order. Officials on the ground aware of this order have not stopped Colfax Ltd from continuing to forcibly evict the community and the public school. However, ironically, community members who attempt to repair their homes where their roofs are leaking or their walls are cracking, are immediately reported to the police station and held liable for being in contempt of a court order.
In order to effectively address the concerns of the Mwamdudu Community and the public at large, Colfax Ltd must now stop all activities at Mwamdudu, and relinquish all claim to the community and school land. Further, the Government must stand up against such land-grabbers, as the failure to do so continues to psychologically traumatize the community.
For more information about Mwamdudu Primary School and the forced evictions by Colfax Ltd, see the following articles:
- Pupils face eviction as primary school in Kwale risks losing land to private company http://www.nation.co.ke/counties/Saving-Mwamdudu-Primary-School/1107872-3339004-xkm127z/index.html
- Grabbing of school land goes on unabated http://www.nation.co.ke/oped/Opinion/440808-3342858-108y7e7/