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-baya is an adjective. Adjectives can be both singular and plural, but they must agree with the class of the noun they are modifying.
- Watoto wabaya(Bad kids) - It takes the wa- because Watoto is in the WA class, which is plural (class 2)
- Kitabu kibaya(Bad book) - It takes the ki- because Kitabu is in the KI class (class 7)
- Mtoto mbaya(Bad kid) - It takes the M- because Mtoto is in the M class, which is singular (class 1)
I find this website to be very useful: https://www2.ku.edu/~kiswahili/pdfs/lesson_24.pdf
This exercise should be modified or stricken from the lesson. As described above, -baya is an adjective. As far as I can tell, it doesn't specifically mean "people" at all–a separate word would need to be added for that. In addition, I agree with Sitoorah that because the English phrase given is plural, the only correct answer is the plural form, and mbaya would be incorrect. The singular/plural distinctions in these exercises often seem to have problems; I think many of the lessons need to be made more specific in how they treat singular and plural nouns, pronouns, verb morphology, and adjectives. The lack of specificity means that I spend as much time trying to figure out the exercises as I do actually learning the language.