Pupils from St Anne Primary School demonstrate on Jogoo Road. [Beverlyne Musili, Standard]
Jogoo road in Nairobi’s Eastlands area was Wednesday a no-go zone as angry school children barricaded it to demonstrate after one of their own was knocked down by a bus on Tuesday. The over 1,020 students from St Anne’s Primary School in Mbotela took to the streets early morning Wednesday and blocked motorists.
In a strange twist, Martin Luganji, 27, who is a traffic marshal in the school, was also knocked down on Tuesday morning as he helped the children cross to the school entrance. He sustained minor injuries to the head and leg. During the demonstrations, a Standard Four student was also knocked down by a boda boda driver, but she was quickly rushed to hospital. This only added fuel to the fire.
With the help of their parents, they barricaded Jogoo Road by sitting on the road and placing stones in front of them to cordon off motorists who tried making their way through. Others lay flat on their bellies on the road as others chanted ‘respect our children’ and even defied persuasion by passengers to make way. Motorists were forced to seek alternative routes after waiting for over four hours.
Traffic snarl up
The ensuing traffic snarl-up could be felt from other parts of Outer Ring Road and other feeder roads like Lunga Lunga. The students were joined by pedestrians on the route.
“Jogoo Road is bad today. We are being forced to walk from Uchumi all the way to town because the students are demonstrating,” said Maurice Wakhisi.
Those coming from Buru Buru and Umoja were forced to use Outer Ring and connect to Juja Road then join Race Course Road and eventually the city centre. Martin Luganji said on the fateful day, he had raised the ‘children’s crossing sign’ as he helped them into the school compound at around 6.30am. Out of nowhere, a speeding Embassava bus appeared and knocked him to the ground unconscious.
“It was either I risk my life or put the children in danger and I chose to get the girl out of harm’s way. The next thing I remember is waking up hospital,” said Luganji.
He was rushed to the Metropolitan Hospital in Buru Buru and was discharged four hours later after an X-ray test confirmed that he had suffered minor injuries. The school’s head teacher Mary Cheruiyot, said several such cases had happened before where children get knocked down and the authorities do nothing. She is now urging the Government to instal a foot bridge and speed bumps near the school.
Education CS Fred Matiang’i assured the pupils that he would work with the county government to instal a foot bridge while Governor Evans Kidero ordered speed bumps be erected on the road.