Mukumu Girls principal blames closure on 'toxic media'

Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls' High School in Kakamega County was closed indefinitely on April 3, 2023 after a suspected food poisoning incident at the school. [File, Standard]

Frida Ndolo, the principal of Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls' High School in Kakamega County, has claimed that "toxic media" reporting of alleged food poisoning at the school led to its closure on Monday, April 3.

"This is to notify you that following consultation with the Ministry of Education directors and TSC directors, it has been decided that the students break off to heal of the toxic environment already created by the media," Ndolo said in her notice to parents and guardians dated Monday, April 3.

"Kindly ensure your daughter receives medical attention, and [when we reopen, she should] report with a medical report on any underlying issue highlighted by the Ministry of Health, through a government hospital. Once the board [of management] sits and deliberates [on the opening date], the students will resume once the conditions are corrected," added Ndolo.

The Standard reached Ndolo to explain what she meant by "toxic environment created by the media", that led to the closure of Mukumu Girls' High School.

"I cannot talk [right] now," she said. Our subsequent requests for feedback were unfruitful.

Some online users said it was wrong for the school administration to shift blame to other parties, yet the alleged food poisoning took place without the blamed parties' involvement.

"This letter [by Mukumu Girls principal communicating closure] annoys me seriously, given that my sister is a student of that school," said Facebook user Awuor Otieno.

Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale said on Twitter: "In her letter to parents following the closure of our iconic Mukumu Girls' High School, the principal, unblinking, blames what she calls toxic media for the closure of the school. If impunity had a face."

The institution was closed after 25 students were hospitalised with cholera-like symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhoea.

Two students, including a 14-year-old girl, have already succumbed to the complications.

"Investigations by the Ministry of Helath are still underway to determine the possible source of the contamination," said Western Region's Education Director Jared Obiero.

Water and food samples from Mukumu Girls' High School were taken to Government Chemist for analysis.