How promise of national schools slots landed me in hot soup
Life is full of ups and downs, so they say. But mine is full of downs and downs. I seem to be getting into trouble after trouble after trouble. My latest woes started when a man walked into my office last week.
‘‘Bwana MCA, you are our protector,’’ he said after we had exchanged pleasantries.
‘’We depend on you to save us from bad decisions made by those who don’t know us well.’’ As he spoke, I tried in vain to recall whether we had met before.
“Mheshimiwa, we elected you because you know our needs. That is why I have come to see you.”By now, I was struggling to resist the temptation to tell him to go straight to the point.
“Those who make decisions at the National government do not know us,’’ Mr Circumlocution continued. My patience was now overstretched.
“What is the problem?’’ I blurted out.
“Nothing big. I am sure you will solve it, just a phone call from you and kwisha!’’ This was followed by an irritating pause.
“I am sure you know Brenda, who sat for KCPE last year,’’ he said as he paused to wait for affirmation. I nodded for the sake of conformity.
“Brenda’s ambition is to become a neurosurgeon. Now they have invited her to join some dingy, backstreet school in some nondescript village. They have killed her ambition.’’
For a moment, I thought the man was going to cry. I wanted to ask who the hell Brenda was, but instead I asked, “What do you want me to do?’’
“As a leader, you have powers to order those people up there to get her a school worth her marks.’’
“How many marks did she score?’’ “She passed!’’ he beamed, “She had 287 marks.’’
“OK, let me get her details and I will follow up.’’ I knew very well I would not do much about the issue.
My promise to the stranger seemed to have opened floodgates for other discontented parents. That day, they streamed into my office endlessly. All wanted me to get a chance in a ‘school with a name’.
Later in the evening, I called in Mokonyonyo, my advisor. I needed some counsel over this matter. “Mheshimiwa, in fact that is what I was thinking of discussing with you.
I have been overwhelmed by calls from parents who are dissatisfied with the schools their children have been invited to. They want us to do something to correct the situation.’’
Well, the truth is that as an MCA, there are things I can do and those I can’t. Getting chances in the so-called good schools is something beyond me. I told Moks as much.
“Bwana Gwinso, remember these are your voters and 2022 is not far. Don’t dismiss them. Let us just give them the impression that we are concerned even when we know we will do nothing.’’
Moks spoke with conviction. We agreed that he takes down the details of the complaining parents, including their schools of choice.
He would promise to contact them later. This arrangement seemed to have worked wonders. For the next couple of days, no parent came to my office. Finally, I had some breathing space- or so I thought.
The peace lasted for only two days. As I was about to retire to bed one evening, I was already in my pyjamas, I was informed there were people outside who wanted to see me.
Being a servant of the people 24/7, I opened the door to see them. Two men introduced themselves as police officers.
“You are under arrest,’’ a voice thundered
“Don’t pretend,’’ barked another voice, “Why are you conning parents? Uko na national school wewe?’’ I realised there were about 10 men of no slight build surrounding me. Before I realised it, I was being handcuffed. I tried to scream but a hand covered my mouth.
I wanted to bite the fingers, but the thought of my tongue being yanked off by that rough hand deterred me.
With my mouth still covered, I was dragged, in fact lifted hobela hobela to the gate where I was bundled into a waiting van.
Soon I found myself in a police cell. I had been accused of extortion. They said I was taking money from parents illegally through my Mokonyonyo, whose whereabouts they didn’t know.
It took the effort of the governor to have me released the following day. Well, I might have been a suspect, but did they to arrest me in such an undignified manner? Heshima ni muhimu.