Bold, new look to signify my confirmation as HM!

Mwalimu Andrew

My fundi had a great surprise for me when I went to pick the suit on Thursday. One was ready while the other one was still being made. The ready one was in bright red.

Photo credit: John Nyaga | Nation Media Group

When, a few days after closing, I received a call that I needed to go urgently to see the Subcounty Director of TSC, I was very worried. I did not know if I was being called for bad or good news. It is not common to be summoned to TSC offices, and in most cases, it is bad news.

A few days earlier, there had been reports of teachers promoted, others unsuccessful. Enemies of development had been spreading the narrative that I had been amongst the unsuccessful ones and that a new HM would be sent to Mwisho wa Lami.

“Wacha tuone maringo atapeleka wapi,” a source closer to the source told me how Kuya told everyone at Hitler’s. “Dre is not even qualified to be a deputy,” he had added.

You see, earlier in the year we had attended interviews for the position of headteachers. You may be wondering why I did not mention it here, but you know me, I am not the type to brag about small things like that.

The interviews had however not gone well, as one of the interviewers was clearly biased against me. Can you imagine he asked me to tell him the headlines of the Daily Nation that morning? Who does that?

The sub-county director of TSC kept me waiting for long. There were other headteachers who were also there to see her, and they would leave her office with envelopes, some happy, others unhappy.

“Hello, the smartest teacher in Sub-Sahara Africa!” she said as she ushered me in her office. “How have you been?” she asked me and hugged me, and I am sure I was the only teacher she hugged that day.

“I have some good and bad news for you,” she said after a five-minute chitchat. “Which one to do want to hear first?”

“The good news of course!” I answered.

“The good news is that one of your teachers, Lucas Kuya, was successful in the interviews and has been promoted to deputy headteacher.” I did not know how that was good news. How could it be good news when a man who does not deserve to be promoted gets promoted?

I, however, pretended to be happy about it. “I have been mentoring Kuya for some time and I am happy to see the work we have done together rewarded,” I said, broadly smiling.

“Thanks for how you are developing many teachers in your school,” she said. “TSC is happy to have a great and rare leader like you.”

“Ok, now let us talk about you…” she said, with a changed face.

“As you are aware, promotion to HM has taken long as many candidates did not either have a degree or they were lower than the HM place in the new scheme of service.” She went on: “You need to either be in D1 or have a degree for you to qualify to be an HM, conditions you do not meet.”

“I have never understood the new scheme of service, one needs a calculator, I don’t know whether I am D1, E2 or G3, but I know that with my experience I should be in Job Group L by now, which qualifies me to be a headteacher.”

“Forget about job groups, which is history,” she said. “And as HM, you need to understand the new scheme of service.”

As regards the degree, you know I had been in university for long, and it is just a small statistical matter that is standing between me and graduation,” I told her.

“I may know but TSC doesn’t know,” she answered. “You either have a degree or you don’t.”

“Anyway, to cut a long story short, you were unsuccessful in your interview, but I am pushing for you since you have been acting for long. I am following up with someone in Nairobi, but calls are not working well, and I personally need to go to Nairobi to push for this urgently. Unless you do not want me to go.” I did not need a calculator to know that she was asking for me to facilitate her trip to Nairobi. I nodded; and did the needful later that day. She summoned me back to the office last week.

“Getting your promotion letter from TSC was like getting meat from a lion’s mouth,” she said. “I do not understand why senior people in TSC do not like you. Whose cows did you eat Dre?” she asked. It was a happy moment for me. Finally! As I went back home, I knew I had to change to reflect my new position. The first stop was at my Kaunda suit fundi’s.

“You are so lost!” he said. “Your green suits were so unique, but people have been wearing Kaunda suits of late and are making yours commonplace.” I agreed with him, without mentioning any name, for my security.

“Do for me something bold and outstanding,” I told him.

“Leave it to me and come after three days for your surprise,” said the fundi. In the meantime, I called my sister Caro and told her that I had been promoted to HM but asked her not to tell anyone. By that evening, everyone in Mwisho wa Lami and its environs knew that I had been promoted.

My fundi had a great surprise for me when I went to pick the suit on Thursday. One was ready while the other one was still being made. The ready one was in bright red. It was a slim fit, made from the best polyester material, long sleeved, four pocketed and with a unique, state of the art, modern collar.

As a way of confirming my new position to everyone, I decided to take a walk to school last Friday, ahead of school opening tomorrow. I wore the bright red Kaunda suit and used a long route to school – so that as many people as possible could see me.

“Hello Headmaster….” I was greeted by everyone in Mwisho wa Lami. I inspected the school, and later went to Hitler’s, where a rousing welcome awaited me. Word of my new red look reached all the teachers, and many of them know that from tomorrow, it will be business unusual. To all those who have been copying my suit, let me see if you can copy my red hot colour. Good luck!