Mukumu Girls cook sacked for speaking to journalists in food poisoning saga

Douglas Muchela

Douglas Muchela- a former cook at Mukumu Girls High School.

Photo credit: Isaac Wale I Nation Media Group

The whistleblowing cook at Sacred Heart Mukumu Girls' High School has been sacked after he spoke to the media.

The school said he overshared information about the institution with the media and did not take in instructions from the head cook and cateress.

The sacking of Mr Douglas Muchela comes a month after the Nation published an investigative piece on the cause of the illness at Mukumu Girls, in which he said he had warned the principal on several occasions about the state of the kitchen.

The illness, which led to the deaths of three pupils and a teacher, was linked to the water and food consumed by the pupils.

Mr Muchela, who is just two years shy of his official retirement age, is one of nine staff members at the school who have been sacked by the management.

Mr Muchela told the Nation that he had received two letters from the principal detailing the reasons for his dismissal.

"I am now at home, without a job, simply because I did the right thing. My mistake, in the eyes of the board, was to air dirty linen in public. Is it wrong to tell the truth? I stand by my truth that what happened at Mukumu Girls was not right and I spoke about it," he said.

"The other letter I was given says that I was reluctant to take orders from my bosses; the head cook and the cateress. I still don't know exactly when this happened. I had no problems with them," he added.

Mr Muchela told the Nation that the head chef was also sacked for allegedly inciting other cooks. The cateress too, was given her marching orders. Others who were sacked are two nurses.

“How then can I be influenced by someone they claim that I disrespected, who is also accused of being an inciter?” he asked.

On the day he went to sign the clearance documents, he sought an audience with the new principal to understand the allegations against him and also to clear his name.

"I went there and the secretary told me that the principal was not in the office. I waited for a couple of hours, but she did not come. I had no choice but to leave the premises," he said.

"I still don't know what I did wrong and it's unfair that they let me go," he added.

Mr Muchela was paid his dues as required, but he tells the Nation that he had to pay off loans amounting to Sh420,000, which he could not even clear with the money he was given.

After the media broke the story, stakeholders from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health initiated changes at the school, including a management overhaul and changes to the water and sanitation facilities.

Mr Muchela told the Nation that he received two letters from the secretary to the principal which detailed the reasons for dismissal off his duties.

“I am now at home, with no job, just because I did the right thing. My only mistake, in the eyes of the board, is that I aired dirty linen in public. Is it wrong to say the truth? I stand with the truth that what was happening in Mukumu Girls’ was not right and I raised it,” he said.

“The other letter that I was given says that I was hesitant to take instructions from my bosses; the head-cook and the cateress. I still can’t figure out when exactly this happened. I have not had any issues with them,” he added.

He told the Nation that the head-cook was also fired on grounds that he incites other cooks. Other people he mentioned who were axed include the cateress and two nurses.

“How then can I be influenced by someone they claim that I disrespected who is also accused of being an inciter?” he asked.

On the day that he went to sign for clearance documents, he sought an audience with the new school principal to understand the allegations leveled against him and also clear his name.

“I went there and the secretary told me that the principal was not in the office. I waited for her for a few hours but she did not show up. I had no option but to clear from the premises,” he said.

“I still don’t know my mistake and it is unfair that they let me go,” he added.

Douglas was paid his dues as is required but he tells the Nation that he had loans to pay amounting to Sh 420,00 that he can’t even clear with the money he was given.

His sacking comes a month after Nation ran an investigative piece on the root cause of the Mukumu illness woes where he said that he had on several occasions warned the principal about the state of the kitchen.

The illness, which led to the death of students and one teacher was linked to water and the food consumed by the students.

After the media broke the story, stakeholders from the ministries of Education and Health initiated changes in the school including an overhaul in management and changes in water and sanitation.