MWALIMU ANDREW: My turn to shine in mass school heads’ transfers

Saturday January 13 2018

The only thing that has growing during this period is herself. Everything else, from discipline to performance have gone down. ILLUSTRATION| JOHN NYAGAH

The only thing that has growing during this period is herself. Everything else, from discipline to performance have gone down. ILLUSTRATION| JOHN NYAGAH 

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When in late December, information reached me that Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i had ordered for mass reshuffles for all head teachers across the country, I prayed and was very sure that our head teacher would be affected and who knows, luck could eventually be on my side.

It was not the first time mass transfers were happening, and although I have always wished to see Bensouda go, she has always survived such action since she is extremely connected within the TSC and Education ministry.

So when I heard that Matiang’i had directed that no teacher will head a school in their home county, I was very sure that Bensouda would leave.

Friends of development will tell you that Bensouda should have left this school long ago. Others would say that Bensouda should never have come to this school in the first place. Her reign was a big mistake.

The only thing that has growing during this period is herself. Everything else, from discipline to performance have gone down.

And although I know they may not necessary appoint me the headteacher, considering that now one can’t head a school in their home county, I was extremely sure that in the mass transfers was an opportunity for me to shine.

What if one headteacher refused to go to the school they are sent to, or opt for early retirement, that would create an opportunity for a deputy to be promoted. And if TSC was really keen on promoting performance over mediocrity, vision over lethargy, you know that countrywide, I would be that person.

So when, towards Christmas, I started hearing of headteachers being moved, I knew they had begun with the national schools first and that they would reach primary schools shortly after.

That is why I was very eager to be in school on opening day, so that I start preparing the school early, and in the event of a vacancy, I would be asked to step in. I wanted to give it my best so that in case TSC calls upon me to serve in acting capacity, it would have no option but to confirm me to the role.

But you all know what happened. Bensouda, working in cahoots with her friends at the ministry, forced down my throat a paternity leave, something I had never even heard of. The import of this was to ensure that I would not be in school to take up the mantle of the school – should such an opportunity arise. I therefore decided to follow up the matter from home, but it was clear that Fiolina, my wife, was under instructions from Bensouda to ensure that I did not monitor happenings at Mwisho wa Lami School. For that whole week Fiolina was like a prefect. Besides giving me work after work, she did not allow me to touch my phone.

“What message are you sending to your son if you want to be on your phone all the time?” she admonished me anytime I took my phone. She would ask to see who I was chatting with if I insisted, and since you all know that I would rather die than give her access to my phone, I complied.

So when last Sunday, I notified Bensouda that I would be returning on Monday. I was not surprised when she wrote back to say that I needed not to. “Last Monday was a holiday so rest tomorrow,” she wrote, then added. “I have also added you another day.” If only she knew how I was suffering at home!

But Wednesday finally arrived. My plan was to leave early but Fiolina had other ideas: “You have to help me with a few chores before you leave Dre. You now have a son!”

So I prepared breakfast and placed it on the table, and washed the previous day’s utensils. As usual, Fiolina praised me for the great work – saying that I had prepared first class porridge. Fiolina was praising me so that I would do the job next time I am asked. It was around 8.20 am when I left home for school. To my shock, Bensouda’s Nissan Sunny was parked under the mango tree. That meant two things: That Bensouda was already in school and secondly, given how that car was parked, she planned to stay the whole day.

“Welcome back,” Bensouda announced when I arrived. She called me to her office where she briefed me on everything that had happened. For the first time since taking over the school, Bensouda had been in charge of the school. She had ensured there was cleanliness, assigned duty masters and was coming to school every day. The thing headteachers do when they don’t want to be transferred!

Later that morning, she told me that someone was keen to move her from the school.

“It is not the ministry but one man at TSC whom I rejected during our college days,” but she told me  she had a solid plan in place.

“The school must not allow another person to land as headteacher,” she said. “I have talked to everybody and they are ready,” she told me without elaborating “Already there is someone who may be brought in today. I would rather they promote you if I have to go.”  That statement alone earned her my support.

She had not finished speaking when a GK vehicle arrived in school. From the car alighted the county director of education and another man. They came straight to the headteacher’s  office. Bensouda asked me to leave. After sometime, the three came to the staff room where the director announced that we had received a new head. He thanked Bensouda for the great work and asked us to support the new head.

They went back to the office and the director left shortly after. Bensouda came to the staffroom, thanked everyone: “I’m going happy with the only regret that they should have appointed someone from this staffroom to head this school,” she said. “Not to bring someone who is a known failure.” She entered her car and zoomed of. She hadn’t gone for even 10 minutes when we heard  noises from the gate. It was Nyayo and some villagers. They were carrying leaves, stones, placards and  singing as they came.

“Bring back Skastina... Skastina must come... We love Bensouda…” were some of the writings on the placards. As they approached the headteacher’s office, they started shouting “mwizi mwizi” as they ran towards the office. They threw stones at the office. Were it not for the quick intervention of Kuya, something terrible could have happened to the new headteacher. Kuya stood at the door making sure no one went past him. He opened talks with Nyayo who was extremely reasonable, and said that as long as the new head left, they would touch no one. With this confirmation, we organised for a boda boda whotook away the visibly trembling man. 

With Bensouda gone, and the new head not allowed to land, I temporarily took over the reins of the school. Bensouda has been checking on me and reminding me not to allow any new headteacher in the school. I asked her if she had reported at her new station and she said she met a similar fate, with the school community rejecting her.

I stand a chance to be promoted only if I ensure that the new head does not land and Bensouda does not return. Anyone with an idea can help on this.


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