By Nancy Agutu
The current wave of school fires blamed on arson featured on Wednesday at a three-day meeting in Mombasa of the Kenya Editors’ Guild and the secretariat of the Directorate of Public Prosecution.
And the message was clear. Students burning schools will not be spared. “They must go through the criminal justice system if they have committed a crime, after which they can be taken through other correctional processes like guidance and counselling,” said Ms. Lilian Obuo, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution.
“Dealing with indiscipline in schools should be looked at holistically with parents, schools, and the justice system playing a role,” she said.
She spoke of precedence in prosecuting students, citing as an example the Kyanguli Mixed Secondary School case in which a court ordered the government to pay Kshs40 million to the families of 63 students who burnt to death 18 years ago.
On a different issue, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Noordin Haji, also opposed plans to give the National Cohesion and Integration Commission powers to prosecute. “I don’t understand why individuals want to get prosecution powers; we have been here and we have never asked for investigation powers,” he said.
“The constitution is clear that the overall decision rests in the office of the DPP. They can have them, we don’t mind, but they must know that overall power lies with the ODPP. “They have too much to chew, and I don’t know why they are asking for more mandate.
My office will oppose the NCIC proposal in Parliament,” said the DPP on the first day of the meeting, which ends on Saturday.