Fresh row hits Alliance as board asked to resign

Sunday April 16 2017

A Form One student at Alliance High School in Nairobi displays a bloodstained vest. Clothes were soaked in his blood when prefects beat him at the institution, he said. PHOTO | DUN SIKOYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A Form One student at Alliance High School in Nairobi displays a bloodstained vest. Clothes were soaked in his blood when prefects beat him at the institution, he said. PHOTO | DUN SIKOYO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By OUMA WANZALA
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Olds boys of the Alliance High School have called for a new board of management. They accused the current one of failing to offer effective leadership and “sleeping on the job”.

Failure to exercise effective supervisory authority triggered the bullying crisis that has beset the school recently.

A report compiled by the governance committee of the Old Boys Association warns that should board members fail to resign voluntarily, the association will withdraw its support to the school.

The report comes in the wake of bullying at the school that led to the exit of the Principal David Kariuki in March.

Mr Kariuki has since been replaced by Lenana Principal William Mwangi despite the recommendation of the committee that the acting Principal, Mr Muchiri Mukunga, be confirmed.

EXPANDED ROLE

“After consulting with a wide range of stakeholders, the committee advises that there is need for the board to be reconstituted. Members who have served more than six years should resign,” states the report compiled by an eight–member team led by architect Prof Alfred Omenya.

The old boys have also recommended that they should have an expanded role in managing the school.

Deputy principal Nicholas Ndege was interdicted which the old boys said would affect continuity with only months before Form Fours sit national exams.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers has also strongly protested the decision to interdict Mr Ndege saying he was being made a scapegoat.

Alliance was the first school in Kenya to offer secondary education to Africans.

It has long been regarded as one of the best high schools in the region but a scandal over the treatment of a student by prefects saw it grab the headlines for the wrong reasons.

ABDICATED DUTIES

Old boys of the school formed committees to probe the situation and their assessment of the board was scathing.

The governance committee found that the board had abdicated its supervisory duties leaving too much power in the management.

“This committee heard of various claims of financial impropriety, in the school generally but from wide ranging areas, especially supplies and construction projects.The committee therefore recommends that school accounts and projects be audited to confirm that there was no financial impropriety and to give confidence to old boys funding the school.”

The committee has recommended different management of mega schools with a principal and an administrator.

A source familiar with the school said the handling of the transition and the appointment of Mr Mwangi of Lenana School, who has less than two years to reach mandatory retirement age of 60, showed the weaknesses of the board which would have had a say in the decision. “It smacks of incompetence and outright disregard of views that have been widely publicised in the media,” said the source.

12 YEARS

The fact some board members have served for more than 12 years was a problem.

The current board of management is made up of Mr Donald Kaniaru (chairman), Mr Sammy Ncheeri (vice chairman), representative of the Methodist Church, the Rev Canon Peter Karanja of the Anglican church, the Rev Dr Wilfred Kogo of the Presbyterian church, Mrs Linah Kiptoo Lilan of the African Inland Church, Sammy Mwita of the Parents Teachers Association, Joseph Njoroge of Alliance Girls High School board chairman, Mr Mugo Kibati of special interests Class of 1987, Mr Benson Malonza, chairman, finance and development committee, Dr Peter Gisore, Mrs Clara Mureithi, Mrs Pauline Olali, James Kabucho Kiriri, Mrs Gladys Olang of teaching staff, Mr Gregery Macharia, school captain and the sub county director of education.

At the founders’ day service this year board members apologised to the school community and to the general public.

On Saturday, Mr Ncheeri said he had not heard of calls by old boys for the board to resign. “I am not aware. When did they say this and on what premise? We had a board meeting last Tuesday. Old boys are represented on the board and this was not presented,” he said.