Last week, I arrived at school on Monday ready to make a difference in the lives of the sons and daughters of the men and women of Mwisho wa Lami and its environs.
As usual, Sella, the acting Deputy could not start the Monday staffroom meeting until I arrived.
After the staff meeting, I received a call from an unknown number. The speaker on the other side introduced herself as the Sub-county TSC Director. “You do not have my number?” she asked me.
I told her that the number I had was different from the one she had used.
“Sorry, this is my other number. Anyway, I was calling to check on how you and your Deputy are settling in,” she said.
“Thanks Madam Director, we are going on well,” I started. “You know I had been running the school for long - even before Bensouda retired, so settling is not a challenge.”
She asked if the teachers had accepted me, and I told her they were incredibly happy with me.
“I have heard about you, but you have not mentioned Kuya, how has he settled?” she asked.
“Kuya’s story is a long one,” I started.
“Mr. Andrew, I am not asking about Kuya’s story, I am asking whether you gave him his letter and how is settling into his work.”
“Madam Director, that is why I am stating that it is a long story that cannot be discussed on the phone,.”
“Mr. Andrew!” she shouted, changing her tone. “It is a simple question: Did you give Kuya his letter?”
“Why have you not given the letter?” she asked when I told her I had not.
“It is complicated Madam.”
“What do you mean it is complicated and I gave you the letter, your job was simply to give him, wasn’t it?” she asked.
“Yes, it was but there are things…”
“Don’t tell me about things. Listen to me. You have until Wednesday to have given Kuya his letter,” she ordered then hang up.
I had no such plans. The people at TSC do not know who Kuya is, they just talk. I ignored her and continued running the day as normal.
The next day, as we were having ten o’clock tea, a car arrived at school. I did not need a calculator to know that it was the Sub-County TSC Director. She refused tea when we offered it. She clearly was not in a good mood. “Let’s meet in your office.”
“Call Kuya!” she ordered when I tried to close the door behind us. I called Kuya.
“Have you signed your appointment letter?” she asked Kuya when he arrived. Kuya said he had not.
“What is the challenge, Andrew?” she asked. I told her it was a long story and asked if we could discuss Kuya’s case between the two of us.
“What do you mean discuss? Are you the appointing authority? Are you TSC? Did we discuss your promotion?”
She went on: “Give me the letter now!” she ordered. I told her that the letter was not there. “It is at home,” I said. She ordered me to go bring it. “And why are official documents in your home?” she wondered.
I went home, took some time there, and went back, thinking I would find her gone. She was still in there.
“Where is the letter?” she asked when I returned. I told her that I had not found it, and after about twenty minutes, I found it in the office. She grabbed it from me.
“Sign here Kuya,” she told him. Kuya quickly signed and took his copy.
“Congratulations Kuya on your appointment, go do your work well,” she said while greeting him.
“What was so difficult with that” she asked. “We still made you Acting HM and later confirmed you as HM against the advice of Bensouda. Why don’t you want others to grow?” she asked. She did not even let me say anything.
“As a leader, you should be happy when your people grow, not sad.”
“That is true Madam, but it should be the right people growing, not just anyone.”
“Kuya is not just anyone!” she stopped me. “He is the senior-most teacher after you. Anyway, my duty is done, I must leave and hope that I will never have to return here to do your work.” With that she left. When I returned to the office, I found Kuya moving his things to the deputy HM office. He had ordered Sella out.
He soon left school and came back with a large carton. The carton had a sizable number of personal effects: including his photos, extra shoes, two jackets, an umbrella, a cup, a glass, and plates, all of which he nicely arranged in the office.
He then wrote a long message to the staffroom WhatsApp group. “Happy to announce that I have finally been appointed as Deputy HM of this school, despite resistance from people I will not mention. I will, next Monday, announce my strategy to take this school to the next level. For now, I urge you to continue your work as normal. Cheers!”
Only Nzomo responded: “Finally! Congratulations on your long-awaited promotion Kuya. Well deserved!”
Tomorrow is the big day for us. I also wait to hear Kuya’s plans. It will not be the first time Mwisho wa Lami will be hearing such. Nor will it be the last!