Meru: Parents make peace with teachers after conflict over funds

Meru: Parents make peace with teachers after conflict over funds

A new year calls for a new beginning, and parents of Mbajone Primary School in Central Imenti, Meru County, seem ready to do just that.

One morning in September last year, as pupils stayed home due to Covid-19 pandemic, they stormed the school compound, seized two bulls, slaughtered them and had a feast. 

Carrying twigs and chanting, the more than 90 parents shocked the nation after defying police and their chief to enjoy the illegal party.

The two bulls provided labour at the school, pulling a cart that was used to ferry water from a stream. The water was sprinkled in classes with earthen-floors to eliminate dust. 

The parents shared the 254kg of meat before selling the school cart to one of their own and divided the proceeds amounting to Sh10,000. Earlier on, the parents had raided the grains store and carted away maize and beans and harvested others from the school farm.

The actions were a culmination of a deep-seated row between them and the administration over alleged misappropriation of funds.

They had accused the head teacher, who has since been transferred, of selling school pigs without following due process.

That the teacher could not account for the money angered them more.

They defended their bizarre behaviour, saying everything was done in the best interest of their children and the school.

But fast-forward to 2021, the parents of Mbajone are now seeking a fresh start. Moreover, they are worried that hygiene at the school might be compromised since students need to sanitise their hands. Yesterday, they promised to buy new bulls to help draw water.

Running water is vital in the new school environment as learners are required to wash their hands regularly to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection.

Mr Moses Koome, a member of the Parents Teachers Association, said they convened a meeting on December 28 where they promised to accord the new head teacher, Mr Josephat Gituma, maximum support.

He said the parents, majority of whom are subsistence farmers, immediately contributed maize, beans and sorghum to feed their children when schools reopen on January 4.

They also raised money and bought sugar for porridge and soap for handwashing. 

The parents have also committed to contribute Sh60,000 to buy a bull.

Mr Koome said parents had plenty of grievances that made them descend on the school in anger.

“Each parent contributed Sh1,500 to hire additional teachers but we do not know how the money was spent,” he said, noting the school has six TSC teachers.

He added that they could not understand why classrooms still needed to be watered even after the head teacher received Sh800,000 to cement them.

“We had acted out of anger since we thought that the then head teacher was not accountable. We had not received the details of the finances for years,” he told the Nation.

“The school had received Sh800,000 from the Central Imenti NG-CDF for plastering and cementing the floors of classes but the work was not completed. Some said that we are bad people and that we were out to ruin the institution but we love our school and it will rise to greater heights.”

He observed that the previous management had sold some of the cereals left in the store and was seeking to offload more foodstuff and livestock before they acted.

The board of management chairman Timothy M’Gaiti said they were keen on ensuring that the new head teacher enjoys their support to transform the school.

“Even the cows would be replaced at one point in time. We are happy,” he said.

Mr Gituma, the new head teacher, said he was happy to work there and felt that the parents would be cooperative.

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