Kenyan schoolgirl jailed over Moi Girls Schools fire deaths

A Kenyan schoolgirl has been sentenced to five years in jail over a school dormitory fire that killed 10 fellow students in the capital, Nairobi.

The 18-year-old committed the offence in 2017 aged 14 in her first year at the prestigious Moi Girls School.

Parents of those who died in the fire said the sentence was lenient, but were glad justice had been served.

The incident shocked the country and raised concerns about the safety of students in boarding schools.

This was the most deadly of a spate of fires in Kenyan schools in recent years started by students protesting about issues such as bad food or ill treatment by teachers.

The student was found guilty of manslaughter in December 2021 after the court acquitted her of murder.

The judge argued that she did not intend to kill her schoolmates, but had started the fire in order to get transferred to another school.

The girl’s attempt to rescue some of her friends from the fire was found to have been a mitigating measure.

The student was seen in court for the first time on Thursday when the judge delivered the sentence virtually. However, she has only been identified as TWG.

Maryanne Mwangi told the BBC that her daughter’s death had changed her life.

“She was only 14 when she met her death and life stopped for me, for her siblings and my entire family. Nothing seems to bridge the gap that she left,” she said.

Arrests are often made of students accused of setting fire to their schools but this is one of just a few convictions.

The fires always lead to school closures and one of the conditions for readmission include payment of hefty penalties for rebuilding the affected facilities.

The government has issued warnings against students linked to acts of arson, including the possibility of being locked out of the formal education system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.