'Nation' journalist threatened over national school's KCSE results

Chewoyet High School.

The entrance to Chewoyet High School.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

A West Pokot County-based Nation Media Group journalist has been threatened by a Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) official after reporting on the 2021 KCSE results of Chewoyet National School.

On Monday, Mr Oscar Kakai wrote a story on KCSE results which were released on Saturday.

He had quoted the school Principal Mr Kiminisi Barasa who said three students who sat the exam at the school had their results cancelled.

Daily Nation ran the story on Monday on Page 6 under the heading, ‘Shame of cancellations at Chewoyet Boys High,’ which apparently drew the rage of the union official identified as Mr Mathew Merimuk.

The three students missed their results, which negatively affected the overall performance of the school.

Chewoyet National School, a boys’ only boarding institution which was elevated to a national school in 2012 had 62 Ds in the 2021 exams, with an entry of 415 candidates.

Located in Kapenguria constituency, the school which took position one in the county in the 2020 KCSE exams had a mean score of 6.922, calculated on the basis of the cancelled three results, which was a drop from a mean 7.068 in 2020.

It had one A, 24A minus ,38B+,47 B plain, 58B-, 64C, 60C minus-, 35D+, 25D, 2D-s, 3Ys and 1p in the 2021 KCSE exams.

However, the official stamped school result slip showed a mean-score of 7.007 for results of 416 candidates.

An angry Mr Merimuk, the Kuppet Executive Secretary in West Pokot County, threatened the Daily Nation journalist with dire consequences following the publication of the story.

The official posted threats on social media platforms by attaching the photo of the journalist.

“Good morning Mr Oscar, am Mathew Merimuk, KUPPET Vice Executive Secretary, following on the article you have tainted Chewoyet name because of 3yrs we promise to handle you probably, don’t cry!” he wrote in one of the messages to the reporter.

“We shall sue you in the corridors of power,” the official said in another text.

Another individual who identified himself as ‘Mworsho Freddy’ also accused Mr Kakai of shaming the county.

He also shared the same information with Mr Kakai via WhatsAPP platform.

Mr Kiminisi denied a further interview with the reporter on the performance. “Not ready to give you an audience given the inaccuracies you have already published about our great school,” he wrote a text via WhatsAPP.

Mr Kakai has since recorded a statement on the matter to the Directorate Criminal investigation (DCI) in Kapenguria, West Pokot County.

 “My life is now in danger and if anything happens to me it’s the three people who are responsible. I was just doing my job,” said Mr Kakai.

The Pokot Journalists Association led by Chairman Joseph Kintu condemned the incident calling for the arrest of perpetrators.

“We condemn such threats in the strongest terms possible, it is unacceptable in such a civilized world, especially from someone of his caliber,” he said.

The chairperson noted that the West Pokot media fraternity will have a meeting with the county Criminal Investigating Officer to make sure justice is served.

He said that the country is in an election period and the issue should not be taken lightly.

“In fact it is against the Code of Conduct of teachers,” said Mr Kintu.

The journalists said that threats should stop and the culprits arrested.

Citizen TV reporter in the County, Collins Shitiabayi called for the respect of the media and for journalists to be allowed to work without threats.

“Kuppet teachers have been rushing to the media when they have problems and they should not be the first ones to throw stones at us,” said the journalist.