Justice for Eugine

Eugine was an only child. He was killed during violent policing of a school unrest. He died in a place where he should have felt safe

17-year-old Eugine Muriithi was a form one student in Kanjiunduthi boys’ high school in Tharaka Nithi County who allegedly met his death at the hands of police officers after a riot broke out in his school.

On 25th July 2023, Eugine’s Grandfather received a call from a parent, who had a child at Kianjunduthi Boys Secondary School who said the school had gone on strike the previous night. He asked whether Eugine had arrived home and informed them that a student had died in the riots and his body had been taken to Chuka Mortuary.

The same day, Eugine had not arrived, this was very unusual for him. A visitor to the home offered to make calls and establish the identity of the student who had been taken there. Speaking to the morgue attendant on the loudspeaker, the family was told that the body belonged to Eugine Mureithi.

Postmortem report indicated the cause of death as asphyxia though he had severe leg injuries, and other injuries on the head and side which were clear signs that he had been brutally assaulted.

Eugine died in a place where he should have felt most safe, His school.

Corporal punishment was banned in Kenya in 2001. Section 17 (6) of the Children’s Act stipulates that corporal punishment shall not be used as a disciplinary measure on children. Despite this, however, violence against children remains a constant threat to Kenyan children.

In 2023 alone, 14 children have died within their institutions of learning; in April 2023 alone, 123 students were hospitalized (3 later died) majorly due to school negligence.

The safety and security of students in Kenyan schools remains a big challenge. Anecdotal evidence suggests that teachers and school administrators who are found guilty of violence against students are usually just transferred to another school