You will remember how, last year, there was a furore over the appointment of Board of Management members. At the time, a new ministerial circular reminded headmasters that the board members must be Form Four leavers, as per the Basic Education Act.
Now if you know Mwisho wa Lami very well, then you do not need a calculator to know that getting several Form Four leavers who are old enough is as difficult as finding a solution to the doctors’ strike.
All the who is who in this village like Alphayo, Rasto, Hitler, Nyayo among others never even completed primary school, let alone stepping in a secondary school. And they have been serving on the PTA of this school for years.
“Kama mtoto wangu ameenda mpaka Form Four, basi mimi nimeenda university,” argued Alphayo, who believes that he is brighter, more educated and wiser than his children who have schooled more than him.
“Hii shule sisi ndio tulianzisha, tungesoma aje na shule hazikukuwa?” wondered Rasto at Hitler’s, saying that they would not leave the BOM of the school. “Hiyo PTA hatutoki, hapo ndio wazee kama sisi tunakulia,” he declared.
The old men remained close to Bensouda and as such, using her connections at TSC and the county education office, she management to get an exemption that allowed her BOM to consist of people who have never sat for a national exam – any national exam. The trio – Alphayo, Rasto and Nyayo supported Bensouda in everything she did.
So when, early this year, Bensouda was interdicted and Catherine appointed acting headmistress, I smelt trouble. Catherine never called for a BOM meeting and it is no wonder the trio joined Bensouda last week when she caused a scene at the school. One of the complaints they had is that there had not been a BOM meeting for two months.
I asked Catherine later that evening whether it was true that there had been no meeting.
“Yes, there has been no meeting because the BOM is not properly constituted,” she said. “And that explains why the school performs poorly. There is no one to provide good strategic leadership to the school.”
I reminded her that there are no good Form Four leavers out there to serve on the board but she laughed it off saying that she would have a new board in a matter of days. I asked her where she would get the people but she just laughed.
She kept her word. Last Monday, no sooner had she arrived at school than I saw some people arrive in school. There was Kizito, who you know is now contesting to be our next MCA, Tito, a former pupil of this school, and proprietor of Busy Bees Academy. Tito graduated with honours of a strong D- from the nearby Mwisho wa Lami Secondary School. You will all remember how Tito conned me last year when we coached KCPE students together, but he ran away with all the money, leaving me, the real worker, with nothing. We do not see eye to eye.
Apostle Overseer Elkana, the anointed Spiritual Superintendent of The Holiest of All Ghosts Tabernacle (THOAG) Assembly also arrived accompanied buy some lady, whom she appointed as the church’s representative.
Although this school was started by the community, Apostle Elkana slowly appointed himself the official school pastor, and recently declared his church our school’s sponsor. The truth of the matter is that it’s the school that sponsors his church!
I was called in to the meeting as secretary. The HM is actually the secretary but in Mwisho wa Lami and beyond, I am usually called to most meetings to take notes due to my internationally renowned, award winning handwriting! Elections were done shortly afterwards and Tito was elected the chair of the Board.
Catherine then introduced the new BOM to the staffroom.
“We are happy to join and support you,” said Mary, THOAG’s representative to the board.
“I will be available to support you but I expect you to work hard,” said Kizito. With an eye on the elections, he offered to buy us lunch. Madam Ruth gave him the budget and he immediately sent her money for heavy breakfast, a sumptuous lunch and a crate of soda. We agreed to have the lunch on Thursday.
The next day, Tito came to school very early and spent time with the HM then went home. He also came on Wednesday. It was like this was a full time job for him now.
Thursday was a great day for us, thanks to Kizito, Mwisho wa Lami’s next MCA. Ten o’clock tea came with chapatis. However, Nzomo and Mrs Atika missed their share as some teachers like Kuya ate several. I only took three chapatis. As we went back to class after tea, the aroma of tasty chicken hit our nostrils, and I would be lying to say that any teaching happened.
ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY
They say once beaten, twice shy. No teacher was going to arrive for lunch late, especially with Kuya around. The staffroom was full a whole hour before lunch time, which means that there was no teacher in any class for the last lessons before lunch. Even Saphire, who comes to school as frequent as the County Director of Education came to school that day, arriving a whole half an hour before lunch.
No sooner had Saphire arrived than the cook brought in plates. A boda boda rider arrived with a crate of soda - Madiaba sodas. As we waited for the food, everyone took a soda, I was bright enough to take three sodas, opened one and hid two.
Just as we were waiting for the cook to bring food, Tito stormed the staffroom.
“I now know why this school performs badly,” he said. “Who is the deputy of the school?” I did not answer as he knew me.
“I have walked to every class and there is no teacher in any classroom? What is happening?” he asked, looking at me.
“There is no problem Tito,” I said, trying relax him as I did not want anyone spoiling our mood just when chicken was about to be served.
“I was here yesterday and the other day and I saw the same thing. Even Class Eight, there is no teacher there!” he said. “Who teaches Kiswahili in Class Eight?”
Nzomo pointed at me. “If the deputy cannot be in class, what do you expect other teachers to do?” he asked me.
“You are asking as who?” asked Saphire, who had not been in school and was not aware of the changes in the school board.
“What do you mean you don’t know I am the chairman of the board?” thundered Tito.
“Even if you are the chairman, this is not your work, there are enough TSC and education officials whose job it is to check what teachers are doing, not you. Go and read the Basic Education Act.” The cook arrived in the staffroom with chicken, ugali and greens, and it was not possible to think of anything else.
Despite Tito’s outburst, our appetite was not affected, we attacked the lunch like there had been no incident in school. It was a bad idea to put Tito in the BOM and a worse idea to make him chairman. But we are lucky we have Saphire who is equal to him. Long live Saphire!