The Ombudsman and some top officials from her Office visited Nantchengwa Primary School in Zomba on 18th July 2017. Nantchengwa Primary School is where last month on 7th June 2018 a total of 4 pupils died and more than 20 pupils got injured after a school block wall fell on them. This block was built by the community members themselves after noting a big problem of school classrooms at the school. They simply used mud. There was and its clear there are still are no guidelines available for the construction of such buildings by Ministry of Education. That in the Ombudsman view is unfair and unreasonable omission and therefore maladministration.
In accordance with her mandate under both the constitution and the Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman has in the past month been in liaison with Secretary for Education and specifically Zomba DC advocating for the drawing of such guidelines. It is the expectation of the office that the said guidelines will be those that would take into account the economic status of the rural communities where such structures are common but without in anyway compromising the safety of the pupils like what happened at Nantchengwa. Such senseless loss of life should never happen again.
The trip to Nantchengwa yesterday was made to appreciate the structure that led to the tragedy and also to interact with the school management whose sense of duty, dedication, resilience and strength was beyond admirable. The Ombudsman also interacted with parents of the victims and also the injured pupils encouraging them to turn the tragedy into something positive by working hard in class and be the stars of the area.Published by: henri Kachisi