- By Robbie GramerRobbie Gramer is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. He writes for The Cable, FP’s real-time take on all things, well, foreign policy. Before he joined FP in 2016, he used to think in a tank, managing the NATO portfolio at the Atlantic Council for three years. He’s a graduate of American University’s School of International Service, where he studied international relations and European affairs. He has lived in both Washington and Brussels, though he grew up in Idaho and Oregon, so he’s a West Coaster at heart. When he’s not busy reporting, he’s probably busy starting three new books before he has finished the last one or planning a trip to a national park he hasn’t visited yet.
A school in Kenya was demolished over the weekend following a land dispute. But the young students there wanted the world to know school’s not out for them yet.
Dozens of youngsters who attended the Kenyatta Golf Course Academy in Nairobi on Monday dragged their desks and chairs into a major roadway to protest the school’s demolition.
Parents and teachers joined the students, who donned their school uniforms and backpacks to protest. They blocked traffic during rush hour, corralling commuters into an impromptu class. “We want our school, we need to study in school!” the students chanted.
Students of Kenyatta Golf Course Academy, Nairobi block Mbagathi Road with their desks after their school was demolished pic.twitter.com/QXRW2GVZU9
— Hussein Moulid (@WhoseinMoulid) May 15, 2017
To make matters worse, it appears the school was destroyed without any prior warning to parents — who had already paid their children’s tuition for the year. The school was on land that belonged to a church, and the school was destroyed without warning on Saturday over a land dispute, though exact details of the dispute weren’t made immediately clear.
Doreen Musungu, the school’s headmistress, said the school was first given the land in 2010. Authorities later told them to leave but didn’t offer them any warning of destroying the school, she said.
“Yes the land is theirs but we want that they at least give us time and even notices because parents have started paying their school fees,” she said in an interview with Kenyan news outlet Capital FM Kenya. “Now we are in a fix because we didn’t have any notices,” she said.
Here’s how one despondent student reacted:
It’s not the first time a Kenyan school was destroyed over property issues. Several schools in Kenya were demolished in recent years after disputes over land deeds, most of which stemmed from corruption. Corrupt officials made it a habit of handing out multiple title deeds for the same property to line their pockets with extra cash.
In 2015, Kenyan police sparked international outcry after they fired tear gas into crowds of school children. The children were protesting the sale of their playground to a private developer, despite the playground being on public land.
Photo credit: MOSES MUOKI/CAPITAL FM Kenya