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Students recall how polite, friendly teacher was killed

Peter Omare, a Physics and Computer Studies teacher. [Photo, Courtesy]

The furious swirling dust on a hot afternoon compounds the hopelessness and the distress at Hopewell Secondary School in Nakuru.

There is gloom in the school that was started in 1994 at Menengai Social Hall to offer tuition to bright students from poor background by a philanthropist, Vitalis Kahenda.

On the day the Sunday Standard visits the place, an empty desk in the staff room is waiting for its former occupant, Peter Omare, a physics and Computer Studies teacher, who will never use it again.

Omare’s tragic departure from the school and this world hangs like a pregnant evil cloud over his former colleagues, who are still processing his fate in hushed tones.

Just across the school fence, visitors are still trickling into Omare’s house to condole with the family, who already miss their breadwinner.

The students, too, are at a loss; the school is unusually quiet and the Physics lessons in Form Three class are less interactive. A colleague has replaced Omare and memories of him are still fresh among the students.

Mr Clear

“He was one of the best teachers who never left class when someone was yet to understand what he was teaching. We called him Mr Clear”. He was a confidant to most of us,” Abutalib Maasai, a Form Three student said.

“He always reminded us that being scared was being foolish. Uoga ni Ujinga, he used to say, something that encouraged us to seek his advice every time we had challenges,” Abutalib says.

The teacher, the students recall, had devised a way of improving grades for his students, separately grouping the slow and the fast learners during lessons and discussions.

“By doing that, he made sure everyone learned at their own pace and the lesson became interactive,”  Abutalib said.

The 35-year-old Omare was also a patron, whose work also entailed ensuring students were safely tucked in the dormitory after night preps before leaving for his house just across the school fence.

For Rawlex Atieno, the school captain, she is yet to come to terms with the loss even after fainting when the news of Omare’s death was broken.

“I cannot  comprehend what happened. He was the best teacher I knew. I was once sick and he used his money to take me to the hospital,” Rawlex, an orphan said.

The students reveal that Omare was always polite and  acted like a father to most students.

“Even as he disciplined us, he gave us options - to face the cane or engage in chores. After that, he could sit one down and advice,” said Asha Khatete.

And while he spent a lot of time with students, his fellow teachers described Omare as one of few words.

“He was a very polite person, always busy with some project and rarely spoke although he was very open and approachable,” Lydia Mwangi, a teacher said.

However, on the fateful day, Omare is said to have confiscated a phone from a student but later got attacked on his way to his house, located barely 100 metres from the school. He was hit on the head with a blunt object, killing him on the spot.

“We were shocked; he was a great person who never picked a quarrel with anyone,” said Mwangi.

She is now concerned about the security of teachers, and remain traumatised since her colleague’s death.

“The Ministry of Education should look into ways of improving security for teachers. We still feel that the students have more advantage compared to teachers, who sometimes deal with complicated cases of indiscipline in schools,” said Mwangi.

Florence Moraa, Omare’s mother, had great expectations of her son. She said her firstborn son had graduated in 2016 and was pursuing a Masters degree, which he was set to complete in April.

“With such qualifications, I hoped that he would be able to secure a better job and educate his three other siblings. Some of them have completed high school and could not proceed for lack of funds,” she said.

Omare’s widow Doreen Moraa is still in shock over the sudden loss of her husband. She wonders whether she will be able to single-handedly raise their son, who is yet to join school.

Affected enrollment

When Sunday Standard caught up with the school’s deputy director, Alfred Muchabaiwa, he looked lost and confused after the tragedy. He said the school had never had a major indiscipline case, and Omare’s death came as a shock.

“Even as the police are doing their investigations, we are trying to get things working.

“The school is meant to help needy but bright students and we have co-ordinators who help us identify and select potential candidates before enrollment. We pray that things go back to normal,” he said.

The incident, he says, has since affected the enrollment and even attendance of students.

Before the incident, the school had over 200 students but 12 have so far transferred to other schools while a couple more are yet to report.

As the school community looks to find closure after the death of a teacher many described as hard-working and humble, the spotlight turns to the police and the courts to bring culprits to book.