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Bensouda in trouble over donor funds

Sunday November 15 2015

Once the students were dispersed, both Juma and Pius joined Bensouda in her office. I did not need a calculator to know that there would be difficult discussions in there. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH

Once the students were dispersed, both Juma and Pius joined Bensouda in her office. I did not need a calculator to know that there would be difficult discussions in there. ILLUSTRATION | JOHN NYAGAH 

By MWALIMU ANDREW
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Other than being the deputy HM of this school, I am very resourceful to Mwisho wa Lami Primary School in various ways. As you know, every year, the poor students of this school struggle with getting the basics required for KCPE exams such as geometrical sets, rulers and  clipboards.

We have been trying to get help from well-wishers but have never been successful. Two years ago, we approached Mr Juma, a lawyer who has unsuccessfully been contesting to be MP. Juma promised to help the students with geometrical sets but for two consecutive years, he never showed up.

Tired with politicians and their false promises, early this year I told my brother Pius about this predicament and as the most successful old boy (I am the second most successful alumnus)  he promised to talk to his friends and see how they could help us.

For once, Pius did not disappoint. Early last month, he visited our school and announced that they were raising funds to ensure that candidates are comfortable during the exam period.

“The geometrical sets are cheaper in Nairobi so we will buy and deliver them if this is OK with you,” Pius said at the staff meeting.

“We have a supplier who supplies us with Knec approved sets and cardboard,” said Bensouda, the HM. “Please bring the money and we will buy them.” Soon after, I noticed that Bensouda wanted to talk to Pius alone, forgetting that I am the one who had introduced Pius to the school. She went with Pius to her office where they sat for long, and they only left after she was sure that I was in class.

She must have forgotten to ask him for his telephone number for she kept asking me for it, but I declined skillfully. When she persisted, I gave her a number that I knew would be difficult to reach Pius.

RETURN AFTER EXAM

“When is Pius sending the money?” she kept asking me every day. I reminded Pius two weeks ago and a few days later, he sent me Sh10,000.

“This is what we have raised with my friends. Use the money for something else once you are done with KCPE purchases,” he said.

I informed the HM that Pius had sent me money and that I would be proceeding to buy the sets and cardboard the next day. Usually, Bensouda takes hours to respond to my SMS but on the day, she did not waste time. She called back immediately. The first thing she wanted to know was how much Pius had sent.

“I will be coming for the money this afternoon,” she said.  “We have a supplier who is supplying schools with Knec-approved geometrical sets and cardboards at a cheap price.”

She said that the supplier would be at the county headquarters the next day. True to her word, she was at school within one hour. I had no option but to give her the money. She left as soon as I transferred the money to her phone.

The next day, Bensouda came to school early. It was unusual for her to come to school on two consecutive days, in fact that was the first time it had happened. Shortly after Juma, the perennial elections loser, came to see her. They sat in her office for long then went to greet the class eight students after which they left together in Juma’s car.

On Monday, a week before KCPE began, Bensouda announced that every pupil would be required to have their own card board and geometrical set. She, however, added that those who will not have the items would be given. “You will return them after KCPE,” she added.

When I asked Pius about this he was quite surprised. Last Monday, as is our tradition every year, our school held a colourful prayer day. Presided over by Apostle Elkana, the Spiritual Superintendent of THOAG (The Holiest of Al Ghosts) Tabernacle Assembly, the event ended very late.

At the event, Bensouda announced that a well-wisher had donated card boards and geometrical sets to those pupils who did not have them. She never mentioned the well-wisher by name.  Out of the 33 candidates, 17 did not have and she gave each of them a geometrical set and a cardboard.

On Wednesday evening, a day before KCPE came to an end, Pius arrived from Nairobi. I convinced him to come to school on Thursday after the last paper to greet the students. Pius had a very busy schedule but he agreed to come.

That morning I informed Bensouda that Pius would be around. “That’s good, he can talk to the students and motivate them after the last paper.”

At midday, we heard a car arrive. It was Juma’s car and out came Juma and Pius. The headmistress welcomed both of them and they went directly to her office.

 I joined them but the look on Bensouda’s face clearly indicated that I was not needed so I returned to my office. There were only two other teachers and immediately after the students were done with the last pater, Bensouda asked them to congregate in one classroom.

She came to address them, accompanied by Juma and Pius. After greeting them, and congratulating them for completing primary school I welcomed the HM.

DIFFICULT CONVERSATION

“Today we have two visitors who will greet us,” she said, and welcomed Juma and Pius. For some reason, Bensouda sounded uneasy.

“Good afternoon everyone,” said Juma. “Can everyone raise up the geometrical set that I bought them?” he asked. Only a few raised the set up. Others did not. He asked one of the pupils who had not raised his hand and the pupil said he had not been given any by the school.

“You proceed, I will explain,” said Bensouda. When his turn came, Pius just greeted the students and sat down.

Once the students were dispersed, both Juma and Pius joined Bensouda in her office. I did not need a calculator to know that there would be difficult discussions in there.

“Please come,” I got an SMS from Pius.

“We do not need you here Dre,” said Bensouda when I knocked the door to enter he office.

“I am the one who called him,” said Pius. “I called him because he is the one I sent the money. Sh10,000, isn’t it so Dre?”

“Yes,” I said. “And I sent the money to the HM, I even can show you the SMS.”

“No one has said you did not send me the money,” Bensouda said. “Do you know the price of a geometrical set? A Knec-approved geometrical set?”

“I have never bought a Knec approved one but with Sh10,000, I am sure you can buy enough for all the candidates.”

“You don’t know what you are saying Dre,” she said as she beckoned me to leave. “The money both of you gave me could not buy enough for all the candidates…”

Shortly afterwards, Juma and Pius left the school. You could tell they were not happy. Pius would later tell me that that was the last donation he will ever make to the school. “Unless there is a new HM, I will never help that school again,” he said.

Later that evening Bensouda sent me an SMS: “Tell your brother that KCPE has always and will always be done in this school with or without him. Awache vitisho. What is Sh10,000?”