What you need to know:
- Within a few days, word that Bensouda was on terminal leave had spread far and wide.
- When we resumed from the half-term break, I realised that I had to fully take charge of the school to avoid creating a vacuum.
What started as a simple question by Alphayo not only became a rumour in a matter of days, but it intensified superiority fights in Mwisho wa Lami Primary School. It all started the other Friday, when I was at Hitler’s for the usual evening classes.
“I haven’t seen Bensouda for long,” said Alphayo. “Or did she retire?”
I told him she had been in school.
“Stop ‘enjoying’ us Dre,” said Rasto. “If Bensouda had been in school we would all have seen her. The last time Bensouda was in this school, Sossion was still the chairman of Knut.”
“I suspect she is on terminal leave,” said Alphayo. I was shocked that Alphayo knew about terminal leave.
“Yaani she is on leave pending retirement.”
“I think you are right, Bensouda is not young, surely, her time for retirement must be nigh,” said Rasto confidently.
When I said Bensouda was younger than she looked, Tito wondered how I knew she was not old.
“Have you seen her naked to know she is younger than she looks?” she asked, sending everyone to laughter.
I kept off the topic. Saphire said that teachers who had joined TSC at the same time as Bensouda had retired.
“I don’t know if she is on terminal leave, but I know she will be retiring soon.”
Within a few days, word that Bensouda was on terminal leave had spread far and wide. When we resumed from the half-term break, I realised that I had to fully take charge of the school to avoid creating a vacuum.
Every teacher cooperated with me, except Nzomo.
“We all know that Bensouda is retiring soon,” she said. “But you are not yet the HM. Umekuwa mkali and you are not yet HM, na ukipata madaraka?”
“Let us not drag Bensouda’s name here,” I told her. “As the Deputy HM, I am responsible for the school whenever Bensouda is away.”
“You are lucky Kuya is sick, you would not do these things you are doing, ungejua hujui.”
So as to align everyone I called for a staff meeting on Tuesday at 10am. No sooner had we finished the opening prayer than we heard a bodaboda enter the school.
I knew it was Bensouda, but to our shock, it was Kuya. He struggled to disembark from the motorcycle. Nyayo, who was carrying him, helped him alight, and also gave him his crutches.
He slowly came to the office with the crutches, the injured leg in plaster. Alex and Nzomo got up and helped him to get into the staffroom, and got him a chair. Nzomo made him comfortable.
“Welcome and pole once more, Mr Kuya,” I said. “I am not sure you are fit to be back in school.”
“You are right, I will need time to heal the leg, but my head and mind are intact,” he said. “I may have difficulty moving and standing in class teaching but I am ready, willing and available to offer my brains in decision making that happens in staff meetings.”
I thanked him but told him that I needed no help.
“I know that,” he said. “But with Bensouda retiring soon, I doubt she is interested in the school, which is why I need to offer my support particularly on administrative issues, where I have lots of expertise.”
Kuya then brought so many arguments in the meeting, and insisted on making changes to my timetable, but all the changes he suggested were in favour of Nzomo and Alex.
When the two complained that they were now having an extra lesson, I reminded them that everyone had taken an extra lesson to cover for Kuya.
“With Kuya indisposed, I am requesting everyone to stretch themselves so that we can cover for him,” I pleaded.
“But you haven’t added yourself any class?” Nzomo asked, I reminded her that as deputy, I had additional administrative responsibilities.
Kuya had a proposal. “Since the only thing I can’t do is move to class, can I step in and help you with administrative issues, especially those that require thinking. This will free you to take up my lessons. My mind is still intact.”
I told him that was not possible, and reminded him that he was still on sick leave. He did not listen to me, and he even reported on Thursday and Friday, although he arrived just before lunch and left immediately after eating.
Kuya is pretending to be responsible but I know he fears that if Bensouda retires when he is away, he may miss a chance to be promoted; so he wants to be around so that should senior TSC officials visit, they find him in school. What is wrong with some people?