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Diamond Plaza and two schools in parking row

The Parliamentary Committee on Education has been sucked into a parking dispute at Highridge.

The dispute pits Highridge Primary and Secondary schools against the management of Diamond Plaza.

The Plaza has entered a parking lease deal with the schools but parents now want it revoked.

The parents say it exposes students to negative behaviour.

The parliamentary committee visited the school last week and supported the parents’ view.

It noted that the young learners were being exposed to what it termed as morally-degrading behaviour.

The committee has summoned Nairobi governor Evans Kidero to appear before it on Wednesday to explain what he was doing about the problem.

Since September last year, learners have been forced to share their school compound with the mall’s shoppers who are permitted by the lease agreement to use the grounds on weekends.

Diamond plaza in Highridge, adjacent to Highridge Secondary school.
Diamond plaza in Highridge, adjacent to Highridge Secondary school.

Efforts by the schools to stop shoppers from parking their cars in the compound were met by a court order issued by Justice Francis Andayi.

Not only were the schools ordered to leave the gate open on weekends, the use of the grounds by shoppers was also extended indefinitely.

Diamond Plaza is to pay Sh50,000 annual fee to City Hall for using the playground.

Shoppers routinely discard beer cans and used condoms on the field.

On weekends, studying is disrupted by loud music from parked cars.

“These youngsters are at an impressionable age and it is dangerous when such acts take place in their full view,” said Mr Benedict Mwendwa, acting chairman, Board of Governors.

Mr Mwendwa added that the school at first refused to let shoppers in, but guards from the plaza broke the padlock to the gate, and at one time assaulted guards.

Security has since become a major issue. In May this year, robbers made away with computers from the school.