Bereaved parents of Kyanguli tragedy plead for help with compensation


17 years ago on March 27th 2001 at around 3.00am, one of the worst tragedies in the country happened – the Kyanguli secondary school inferno that resulted in the death of 63 students and injuries to several students. Both doors to the dormitories were locked and the only escape route was through the windows. The incident caught the attention of the then president Daniel Arap Moi who visited the school on the same day and called for thorough investigations.

The investigations revealed that several students led by Felix Mambo had sneaked out of the school and returned with petrol which they used to burn the dormitory and escape while their fellow students were asleep. The suspects were then charged with murder. A commission of inquiry was then set up but the findings were never made public.

The parents of the 63 students that perished have had a painful journey since then. They were never allowed to view the bodies of their children who were later buried in a mass grave. After that they expected compensation from the government but it seemed they would never get compensated, they went to court and in 2016 the court awarded each parent 650,000 as compensation totaling to 41 million.

Since 2016, the government has never paid them this moneys, beginning another journey of hopelessness to the parents. During this year’s anniversary held Tuesday the parents urged the government to hear their cry and compensate them. They also called on the local political leadership to help push the government to clear the compensation this year. According to the parents the money is not meant to pay their children but it is only for wiping their tears. Since then, close to 20 parents of the children affected have lost their life’s most of them due to depression and high blood pressure.

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