Tragedy has traumatised me, says academy owner

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 22:11 |
The proprietor of Precious Talent Academy, Dagoretti, Moses Wainaina addresses stakeholders at the school when National Assembly’s Education committee visited the institution, yesterday. Photo/PD/PHILIP KAMAKYA

The owner of the ill-fated school in Dagoretti where seven pupils died after a section of a classroom collapsed has termed the tragedy as shocking and traumatising. 

Speaking for the first time since the tragedy, Moses Wainaina told People Daily in an interview yesterday the incident left him dumbfounded, adding that he was not aware the building was in a state of disrepair.

“I am always the first person to arrive here in the morning and mostly the last to leave. And for over 10 years which I have been supervising the operations of this school, I have never thought such a tragic incident would ever happen,” he said.

The Bachelors of Commerce (Accounting Option) degree holder always had a dream to venture in the education sector to establish his own school.

Current location

“I was a very bright student both in Nakuru High School and later in campus where I used to beat fellow classmates like current Water Minister Simon Chelugui and (National Assembly) Leader of Minority John Mbadi,” he said.

After college, he got an Accounting job with a donor-funded company before later establishing the school in 2006 together with his wife Freshia  Wainaina, who was at the time a teacher. They moved the school to the current location in 2009.

The school started with 10 classes and a single stream. With the area short of public school, enrolment into the institution soared reaching to over 800 in three streams. It did its first Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams in 2012.

“My daughter was among the first students to do KCPE in this school where she performed well and she is currently pursuing medicine and surgery,” added Wainaina.

He dismissed those accusing him of being part of a cartel exploiting the area for lack of public schools saying his motivation to start the school was not commercial but to help the ambitious kids in the community achieve their goals and be successful.

“I have seen it all in my life. Growing up in Mau, my parents always could barely raise my school fees to join Nakuru High School. I had to do side-jobs to get school fees. Still, I garnered 620 marks out of 700 and was one of the top students then,” he said.  

Parents are, however, conflicted with some describing him as arrogant while others are full of kind words for him saying he always listens to them even when they have not cleared school fees.

“Most of my children have passed through his hands. Even if this incident happened, we will not pull our children from the school,” said Grace Nthenya, a parent.

Sufficient infrastructure

James Mwangi, however, accused Wainaina of charging exorbitant amounts in an institution he claimed lacked sufficient infrastructure.

The school has been a top performer with seven pupils scoring 400 marks while the majority scored over 350 marks.

During a visit by the Parliamentary Education committee recently, MPs lauded Wainaina for seeing the need to help the community.

Led by Tinderet MP Julius Melly, the MPs opposed a directive to close the school and instead told the Ministry of Education to establish public schools as an alternative first.

“When you say you are going to close schools like the ones established by our friend Wainana, where do you want over 2 million kids in Nairobi who live in informal settlements to get their education from?,” Melly asked.

The legislators who comprised area MP John Kiarie, Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central) and Omboko Milemba (Emuhaya) together with top KUPPET officials promised to push for the area to get several public schools.

Meanwhile, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko suspended 16 county officials following the tragic Monday morning incident.

Key among those suspended is Finance and Economic Planning Executive Charles Kerich.

“Drastic measures have to be taken to reverse the effects of years of flouting Physical Planning  Regulations and restore order and sanity before illegal structures claim more lives as has repeatedly happened before,” said Sonko.

Others suspended are CEC Public health and safety Mohamed Dagane, County Chief Officer for planning Justus Kathenge, Director planning and compliance Jusper Ndeke and Development Management Director Dominic Mutegi.

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