18 June 2018

Kenya: Principals Blame Chaos That Rocked Their Elections On Mass Transfers

Officials of the secondary school principals' association have blamed chaos that marred election of new leaders on the mass transfer of head teachers.

Kenya Secondary School Head Teachers Association (Kessha) chairman Indimuli Kahi said the transfers, effected through the delocalisation policy, affected the elections.

"Normally Kessha elections are held through consensus. We had already negotiated and, as a chairman, I was finishing my predecessor John Awiti's term who retired prematurely. Since I was his deputy, I took over as dictated by our constitution," Mr Kahi explained.

Mr Kahi said Central region, who led the protests, were given the national secretary position previously held by Ms Grace Wanjiru who was initially a principal in the region but was later transferred to Rift Valley.

"Central region delegates insisted the position should be theirs and they demanded it but Ms Wanjiru also wanted to defend her seat. That's where the dispute arose and no one wanted to step down," he added.

Following the stalemate, Central delegates surged towards the dais as they demanded stoppage of elections, causing a 20-minute ruckus at the Wild Waters in Mombasa where the high school principals are attending their annual conference.

They accused the election officials, including Mr Kahi, of discriminating against them and seeking to lock out their preferred candidate.

"We know there is a scheme to lock out a candidate from Central and replace him with someone from Rift Valley. We will not allow this discriminative act to continue," said Mr Kamau Kamatu, who is the principal of Thigio Boys High School.

The election was stopped for about 10 minutes for election officials and representatives from Central region to settle the issue.

After an agreement was reached, the Central delegation returned carrying shoulder-high their preferred candidate Mr Willy Kuria was elected unopposed. Mr Kuria is the principal of Murang'a High School.

The other seats were shared according to regions.

Mr Kahi, who was defending his chairmanship post, said that he was supported by delegates from Eastern where he was recently transferred to head Machakos Boys School. He was transferred from Chavakali Boys High School in Western Kenya.

ELECTED LEADERS

Mr Amos Cherono was elected as national treasurer to be deputised by Mr Benjamin Ngau.

Mr Ezekiel Ayieko is the new vice organising secretary while Mr Boniface Karisa was elected the vice chairman.

Mr Ibrahim Fara is the vice secretary.

Mr Kahi has promised to ensure there is harmony in Kessha and build capacity for principals to cope with new policies.

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