TSC under pressure as Kapedo teachers join push for transfers over insecurity

As the government grapples with what to do with hundreds of teachers who have declined to return to North Eastern Kenya over insecurity, fresh trouble is brewing in Baringo County where another set of protesting educators have fled the area citing insecurity.

Ever since the October 25 ambush and massacre of 22 Administration Police and General Service Unit (GSU) officers, security in and around the contested Kapedo region, school programmes have largely remained in a state of flux.

Student and teacher attendance is adversely affected as the former stay away. Teachers in Kapedo have joined their colleagues from North Eastern Kenya in demanding transfers to safer regions following the killing of a teacher, three police officers and five civilians last year by bandits.

Three teachers at Kapedo Mixed Primary and Secondary schools forced out of the region by frequent bandit attacks, say they have not been to their work stations since October last year.

“Our major problem is insecurity. It emanates from the 15-acre piece of land inhabited by the Turkana amid the Pokots. The Pokots claim the land but the Turkana have stuck to it. Resource potential has escalated the hostilities between the two communities. Oil and geothermal prospects in Kapedo have encouraged the Pokots to use all possible means to eject the Turkana. That puts learning in jeopardy as teachers are objects of attacks,” Emmanuel Munialo, a teacher at Kapedo Mixed Secondary School said.

Transfer requests

The Standard on Saturday spoke to Munialo at the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) headquarters in the company of his colleagues Timothy Ositu of Kapedo Girls Primary School and Mary Njoki Sikuku of Kapedo Mixed Primary School. The three joined the other 1,089 teachers from Mandera, Garissa and Wajir counties who want the government to relocate them.

Contacted, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said it has not received any complaints or transfer requests from Kapedo and adjoining areas. Through its head of communication Kihumba Kamotho, TSC said security is being handled by the government throughout the country.

Kamotho said: “Issues of security, not just in Kapedo, are being addressed by the government.”

Contacted at his workstation, Patrick Mudanya, the head-teacher of Chesekam Primary School, about four kilometres from Kapedo said most teachers in the area come from outside the county and are terrified.

He says “most” of his colleagues from outside Baringo County are yet to report to work, nearly two months after schools reopened for the first term.

“The Ministry of Education should consider conducting a survey on the risks their staff currently face. If this will not happen education in this part of Kenya learning will be paralysed because teachers fear for their lives,” he said.

He says security officers in Kapedo are forced to provide 24-hour security around Kapedo Primary and Secondary schools during lessons. This, he says, is because no one can be sure when bandits may strike.

The petition the teachers have filed with their employers to back their claims lists chronology of attacks since February 2013.