The future of many students in Tarime remains bleak as they continue to
drop out of school due to various reasons such as early marriages,
pregnancy and gold mining.
IT'S a sorry state of affairs in Tarime District as some secondary
school students are trading pens and books for picks and shovels by
abandoning school in search of gold at the near-by Nyamongo Gold Mine.
What is more disturbing is the fact that after sweating and toiling,
braving the unfavourable weather to get these precious stones, the
students sell them to raise money they spend willy-nilly at Maini Bar,
a popular brothel known as "Kwa Pili Kiuno", a name given after its
A number of Nyamongo Secondary School students interviewed by THISDAY
recently lashed out at the Pili Kiuno Bar and Guest House for promoting
commercial sex business by using girls of school going age to entice
the students-cum-young miners into sex business.
A visit by this reporter at Pili Kiuno bar brought with it shocking
revelations of girls as young as 15 years old selling their bodies for
as much as 5,000/- for a single game, but with strict conditions of
playing the game at the Pili Kiuno complex, at a bill that the young
miners can afford almost every day.
This seems to have triggered a time bomb where young people in this
area have been turned into sex maniacs something that is forcing many
schoolboys to abandon school to become intruders "gold stones
smugglers" at the North Mara Nyamongo Barrick Gold Mines, where they
steal gold, sell it and recklessly use the money to satisfy their
insatiable sexual appetite.
The Pili Kiuno's complex has also been reduced to a smoking chamber as
boys and girls smoke and drink beer in darkness, as light in this bar
will in most cases be switched off. Light in the beer hall is switched
on only on request.
At Nyamongo Secondary School alone, students interviewed by this
reporter said more than 30 students, know by names, dropped out of
school to join the dubious mining activities, let alone other students
from schools surrounding the North Mara Mine.
The Nyamongo Secondary School official attendance register from the
school headmaster's office shows that 87 students have dropped out of
school in the past three years, 18 among them dropped school due to
pregnancy while the rest are said to have either joined the famous
mining activities or were married off.
The school academic officer, Suguda Shokolo, told THISDAY that
students were dropping out of school due to pregnancy at the school
because they are snared by Nyamongo Mine workers who use money as their
He also blamed lack of hostels and lack of adequate education on reproductive health as another contributing factor..
The students at the school are of the view that the mine has turned
into more of a curse than a blessing to the community on grounds that
the Barrick Gold Mine workers are said to be leading in impregnating
schoolgirls while they use their money to cover up their dirty tracks
by bribing some police officers and parents of the pregnant and
The police force has also been singled out as an impediment when it
comes to dealing with the school pregnancy issue allegedly by taking
bribes from those who would have made the girls pregnant while at the
same time are said to be using a lot of energy in protecting the
Barrick Gold mining investors rather than the common people.
"The police officers confiscate gold from the ordinary people and
arrest the people unnecessarily in the name of the investor with most
of the officers having personal posh cars bought out of cash accrued
from the confiscated gold stones," the students said.
They cited an example of their school mate Boniface Charles, who
impregnated his schoolmate, Dainess Bega, saying the parents of Dainess
reported the matter to the police but police officers, instead were
bribed by Boniface's parents and the case died a natural death.
"Believe it or not the same girl went to live with Boniface at his
parents' home and they now have a child while Boniface is in form three
C at the school, going on with studies as usual and nothing has
happened to him.
Approached for comment, the Acting Tarime and Rorya Police Regional
Commander David Hiza denied the allegations, and said that his officers
are on the ground to ensure maximum security for every citizen in the
area regardless of status.
He, however, went on to shift the blame on their Member of Parliament
Charles Mwera and the Matongo Ward Councillor Mwikwabe Machage, for
being irresponsible as they have failed to visit the school since they
were elected to map a way forward on problems bedevilling the school.
The students also said that if the situation remains uncontrolled then
the future of most students will remain bleak as they will fail to
acquire education. This will see them reeling in abject poverty as they
fail to make headway into life.
They went on to recommend that parents and the government should team
up and build hostels for all schools while the police force should take
stern measures on those who shatter students' educational dreams.