School board rejects new principal for the second time

Keveye Girls Secondary School in Vihiga County. The school is sponsored by Friends Church (Quakers). [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

A principal posted to Keveye Girls Secondary School, in Vihiga County, has been blocked from taking over for a second time following claims of poor performance.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) transferred Violet Oyungu to Keveye Girls from Nyakach Girls High School, in Kisumu County, and she was to replace Christine Sifuna.

Ms Sifuna was, on May 11, moved to Cardinal Otunga Girls High School in Bungoma in the same capacity.

However, Keveye Girls Board of Management won't let Ms Uyungu set foot in the school.

This is the second time Uyungu is being rejected by Keveye Girls, local leaders and the local community. In 2015, the board of management successfully blocked her transfer to the school by TSC. And when TSC insisted that she should take over at Keveye, the entire board resigned.

"It has been decided that you (Christine Sifuna) be transferred from Keveye Girls Secondary School to Cardinal Otunga Secondary School as a principal and to teach History and CRE with effect from May 12, 2023. You will hand over the administration of the institution to Oyungu Violet Ambiyo," said TSC's letter sanctioning the changes.

The letter was authored by one Ms Lilian Mwangi on behalf of TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia.

Keveye Girls Secondary School board. They successfully blocked her transfer to the school by TSC in 2015. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

"A protest letter was sent to TSC on May 16, by Jumba Yalwala, the Presiding Clerk of Chavakali Yearly Meeting of Friends Church (Quakers).

The school is sponsored by Friends Church (Quakers).

The letter reads: "As a church, we don't want to see the school go down under our watch."

"The upshot of the memorandum we sent to TSC is that we reject in totality the posting of Ms Oyungu Violet as Keveye Girls School principal," said Mr Yalwala.

"In our considered opinion, she would not serve the best interests of the school as currently programmed," said Mr Henry Kemoli, Keveye Girls board chairman.

He added: "We have made tremendous progress in academics and  infrastructural development, which would not progress in the best interest of the school's stakeholders."

"As a responsible board, we want to oversee a smooth administrative transition by getting a principal who has good integrity with requisite leadership qualities. We strongly oppose the takeover."

Sabatia MP Clement Sloya said TSC did not involve the local leadership when making the changes.

"That is why I have rejected the posting of the new principal," he said.

Sabatia MP Clement Sloya (centre). The MP said TSC did not involve the local leadership when making the changes at Keveye Girls Secondary School. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

"Keveye Girls is not a dumpsite. We demand to have a say in the choice of the new principal."

The MP said the teaching and non-teaching staff and the students are not comfortable with the new principal.

"As an elected representative of the people, I have a duty to defend what's rightfully ours. I have the duty to protect the school from interference by people who are purporting to be helping us when in the real sense, they are destroying it," said Mr Sloya

The MP accused Vihiga County TSC director Loice Murrey of not listening to stakeholders.

"Are they telling us that Keveye is the only school she can be posted to? We want TSC to withdraw her posting with immediate effect and propose one of the current Keveye Girls deputy principals to hold brief until the issue is solved," said Mr Sloya

He threatened to seek President William Ruto's intervention if TSC doesn't rescind its decision.

Caleb Nadebu, the Parents and Teachers Association chairperson, said parents will do everything possible to block Oyungu from taking over.

"Let TSC prepare for the mother of all battles with the parents if they refuse to listen to us. We have many avenues to settle this, including protests and seeking court intervention," said Mr Nadebu

Vihiga County TSC director Murrey declined to comment on the matter.