The County of Bungoma, the rest of the Counties of the former Western Province of Kakamega, Busia, Vihiga and neighbouring Trans Nzoia County woke up on 24th January 2021 to shocking happenings, mayhem, wanton destruction unleashed by the students of Chesamisi High School on school property that upon close review is no less than what happens in Mogadishu, Somalia when the Al Shaabab terrorists detonate bombs. It is chilling destructiveness from such young people. The level of destruction caused by the students of Chesamisi High School is record breaking. It is has never been witnessed anywhere.
Hard questions must be asked as the National Police Service as usual will proclaim that investigations have been launched and then soon after everything goes quiet and no prosecutions ensues? The Chesamisi “violence calls for the deployment of a highly professional team of investigators from the Head Office of the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and with fixed deadlines to present a report to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to mount prosecutions on the culpable, ring leaders and perpetrators of the violence, destruction of the school properties on such a massive scale.
But this destruction is a symptom of an underlying problem or problems in Chesamisi High School and by extension in other schools in Bungoma County and the other Counties of the region.
The School principal of Chesamisi High School and his teaching staff and the Board of Management owe the public an explanation, a credible one as to why they did not foresee the tell-tale signs of the violence and pre-empt it? There certainly must have been underlying anger, frustration, problems the students have tolerated for some time until they boiled over? Who then slept on their jobs? They are as culpable as the marauding violence spewing students.
The National Government County Director of Education in Bungoma Mr. Philip Chirchiris equally on the radar of sleeping on the job. What solutions, feedback action did that director make when the students of Lugulu Girls protested about sexual harassment by certain members of staff? We dare state nothing as no public pronouncements were made. The seething problems in public schools and more so boarding schools may soon get out of hand unless they are urgently and decisively addressed.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof. George Magoha who has been fumbling with the education docket is on the spot and answerable and accountable. He has been issuing hollow statements that schools have been given money from the National Treasury and yet that is a clear lie. He has directed the school Principals not to send home any student on fees issues and thereby caused, prompted parents even those who are able to pay schools fees to hesitate and non-prioritize paying school fees.
So how are the children, students in boarding schools to be maintained – fed, given basic facilities of sanitation and do practicals in laboratories without parents paying school fees?
The Chesamisi mayhem is a tip of the about to erupt volcano, the ticking time bomb that our schools and more so boarding public secondary schools are? Parents, elected leaders must take their responsibilities on the education of our children much more seriously and stop yapping, politicking about how our schools run and give the needed financial support to the principals.
Our National Government is literally bankrupt and its promises on having send funds to schools must be verified, otherwise the school principals are being put on the firing line of the wrath of students who believe they are being mistreated, subjected to suffering.
We hope that the Chesamisi violence will remain an isolated incident but that can only be so if the truth, the reality in our boarding public secondary schools is faced now and the challenges addressed forthwith.
The education of our children is too crucial, too important to be trivialized, messed up with incompetent school managers, County education directors, and a dysfunctional Cabinet Secretary.