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Keveye Girls reject new principal, again, over claims of poor performance

  Sabatia MP Clement Sloya (centre, sitting) and Friends School Keveye Girls board members, led by their chairman Henry Kemoli (right, sitting), addressing media at the institution on May 20, 2023, when they rejected a new principal TSC has posted to the school. [Benjamin, Sakwa, Standard]

A principal posted to Friends School Keveye Girls, 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 could not allow Ms Uyungu to step foot in the school, also accusing her of being arrogant and reigning with an iron fist.

This was the second time Uyungu was 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.

"The incoming principal is associated with the diminishing academic standards of Nyakach Girls. She is combative and arrogant in her administration," states a protest letter 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 further reads: "The principal is vindictive, unfriendly, and unprofessional in the conduct of her administrative responsibilities. She is reputed for financial impropriety tendencies and misuse of school resources."

Yalwala claimed the principal relates poorly with parents and other stakeholders in the education sector. "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.

Mr Henry Kemoli, Keveye Girls board chairman, said the new principal has a questionable administrative record.

"In our considered opinion, she would not serve the best interests of the school as currently programmed," said Kemoli.

 Friends School Keveye Girls students celebrating past KCSE results. [File, Standard]

He added: "We have made tremendous progress both in academics and general school infrastructural development, which would not progress in the best interest of the school's stakeholders should Ms Oyungu take over as principal."

"As a responsible board, we want to oversee a smooth administrative transition at the school by getting a principal who has good integrity with requisite leadership qualities. We strongly oppose Ms Oyungu taking over as Keveye Girls principal."

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

"That is why I have rejected the posting of the new principal," he said adding; "Keveye Girls is not a dumpsite for rejected teachers. 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 being arrogant when handling the issue. "She thinks she is above everyone in this region. That is why she is not listening to any other person apart from herself," said the MP.

"We will not accept Ms Oyungu to come to Keveye Girls as principal. Or are they telling us that Keveye is only the school she can be dumped? 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

The Sabatia MP threatened to seek President William Ruto's intervention if TSC doesn't rescind their decision.

Nadebu Caleb, the Parents Association (PTA) chairperson, said parents will do everything possible to block Ms Oyungu from taking over as the new principal.

"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.

[Additional reporting by Brian Kisanji]

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