Playing Greedy Politics With Educational Institutions Must Stop

Mrs. Buyengo with students of Nangina

The ministry of education’s de-localization programme has opened up a Pandora ’s Box for many politicians, their henchmen and women and influential personalities to exploit the situation to further their personal interests.

At the local level these characters have discovered that secondary schools are gold mines from which they can mint millions of shillings annually through their influence since they are located in their constituencies.

The biggest targets being high or secondary schools with large populations of students which means higher demands for certain goods and services to run these institutions which therefore must be tendered or contracted for from external sources which simply means money.

The personalities with the biggest say in tendering and contracting for all these are the principals of the institutions and their boards of management some of whose members are interested in making extra cash from these areas apart from the allowances they are paid from board meeting sittings.

Indeed it has emerged that many members of these boards are owners of companies that are beneficiaries of these contracts and tenders and politicians use their henchmen and women to sit on these boards so that they can benefit from these contracts.

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The bottom line is the fact that if the principals do not play game to their whims and demands, they immediately become targets for immediate disposal from their positions to schools in other places in the name of transfers so that they can hold sway.

It beats all logic that a principal or even a teacher to get a transfer letter to another institution and is expected to report immediately. Does this not require money at a personal level for these individuals to move from wherever they are being dislodged and being dumped?

Don’t they have families who will be immediately impacted by these actions? Don’t they need to have new places to reside wherever they are being pushed? Then there is the critical question of handing over to whoever is coming to take over by whoever is leaving – is this a procedure that can be done without proper procedure?

A classic example is that of St. Cecilia Nangina Girls’ High School in Busia County of the former Western province where the Principal received a transfer letter in the morning and was required to immediately leave the institution to report to her new station in Migori in the former Nyanza province more than 200 kilometres away.

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It has emerged that local political interests were at play since the school’s Board of Management (BOM) had already been penetrated by a henchman of one of the local politicians to grind his axes from within because of the vested personal material interests.

According to insider information one of these politicians with vested interests had accumulated a debt of more than Kshs. 1.5 million that had not been paid for nearly a whole year, which is crippling for the operations of educational institution with a large student population like Nangina Girls.

Interestingly he was able to clear this debt recently after ensuring that one of his henchmen was already on the school’s board and even more elevated to become the chairman of the board. Here there appears to be completely no consideration of conflict of interest as dictated by law, but a question of who has the influence and the connections to move things.

There also emerges the question of the fact that the character involved is already holding another office in the education sector in a senior position with very close personal ties with another equally senior and influential personality in the ministry of education.

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Which brings in the question whether these individuals were not merely using their positions of influence and connectivity to achieve their goals? Otherwise why should a principal who had transformed an ailing high school to the best performing in the county with a large student population be un-ceremoniously shunted out of a place she had laboriously built?

The most critical question here is what were the forces behind this transfer and what were the vested interests involved here? There is also the question of personal political interests that pits Funyula constituency north and south divide – were they at play here and who was grinding whose axe and for what purposes?

What is clear is the fact that the interests of the students, the teachers, the local community, the stakeholders and particularly the sponsor which is the Catholic Church were not at play here but somebody playing mischief with the mass transfer of head teachers programme.






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