Mwalimu Andrew: With politics dream shattered, my focus goes back to school

Mwalimu Andrew

I said resignation was not an issue and that I would resign as soon as I got elected.

Photo credit: John Nyaga | Nation Media Group

If there is one lucky man in Kenya, it is the MP for our constituency, where Mwisho wa Lami is one of the wards. As you know, early in the year, I listened to the call of the people who said they needed real representation in Parliament, not just presentation. Our MP has, for 10 years now, presented himself to Parliament, but never represented us.

When he heard that I was contesting to take his seat, and when he learnt that the ground was heavily leaning towards me, he panicked. Emissaries were sent to me asking me to postpone my candidature, with several offers put on the table. The most promising one was that I would be made chair of the CDG-NG committee when he is re-elected. I dismissed all this and assured everyone that the journey must end at the ballot box, where we would let the people choose whom they wanted.

Seeing that I was not moved, the MP resorted to other means. Letters were written to TSC saying that I was doing politics yet I was still a teacher. Stupid cases that died long ago were resurrected, while threats were sent to my father and Fiolina, the laugh of my enviable life.

When I was in Kakamega, the only thing that Fiolina wanted us to discuss was me dropping my bid. She also lectured me on the same in Nairobi, and even said she suspected that my Gateway Mall situation was the work of the MP, to ensure I have no documents to present to IEBC.

Earlier, my father had summoned me to his place.

Expansive affair

“I called you here to say that as your father, I am happy with all your achievements,” he started. He then said he was so proud of me as a teacher, particularly a HM.

“Do not start dreaming of things that risk your current job,” he said, adding that politics is an expansive affair.

“Do you even have money to run an effective campaign?” He asked. “And what if you lose, where will you go?”

I told him not to worry about finances. I did not need as much money as the other candidates needed. The difference between them and me was that while they were imposing themselves on the people and therefore needed money, I was asked by the people to run and did not need a lot of money. When my father insisted that I reconsider my decision to stand, I told him off and even added what I knew.

“Mzee, I know that the MP visited you here and gave you some money,” I said. “Just eat the money quietly and tell the MP that you tried your best but failed. And how can money be more important than your own son?” I asked him.

“I haven’t said money is more important than you,” he answered, looking upset. “But have you ever given me even a quarter of what he gave me?” I told him to declare his stand and added that I was ready to lose his vote. I banged the door and left.

So, when I travelled to Nairobi the other week, part of the plan was to learn about all the documents I needed to submit for my nominations as an MP. Despite the debacle that happened to me at Gateway Mall, where we walked in happy and excited but left sick and with nothing, I still managed to get some information to help me prepare.

So, when I appeared before the IEBC last Saturday to present my papers, the returning officer asked me to present my original national identity card. I explained to him that I had lost it just a few days earlier, but she insisted on it. I even gave her a police abstract and a copy of my lost ID. It was clear that she had been told that I did not have my ID card. After a long argument, she finally accepted the copy but raised a million and one things about the list of supporters that I presented. She said the format was wrong, and the signatures looked similar, and advised me to come the next day with the correct list in the format required.

Together with my campaign team, we burnt the midnight oil to ensure all the papers were in order. I reminded them that the returning officer was working on behalf of the MP and we should not give her any excuse to deny us the clearance. The next morning we were at St Theresa’s Girls first thing.

The Returning Officer was looking for a mistake. She totally avoided eye contact with me.

To our surprise, she raised no issue with the documents we presented. She nodded at every stage of the way until the very end when she asked me what I do. I told her that I am a respected teacher and celebrated HM of the best school this side of the Sahara. She asked if it was a private school and I told her it wasn’t.

“Have you resigned from the position?” she asked.


I said resignation was not an issue and that I would resign as soon as I got elected. Or even that morning.

“Andrew, that is not what the law says,” she said. “Any public official contesting should have resigned before February 9, 2022; over three months ago.”

“But I am a teacher, not a public official,” I told her. All my explanations fell on deaf ears as she insisted that teachers are public officials.

“Did the MP resign?” I asked. “Is an MP not a public official?”

She struggled to explain but did not accept my argument.

The long and short of it is that I was not cleared. The current MP arrived shortly after me and was cleared in a matter of minutes.

News that I was not qualified to contest reached far and wide. There was dejection everywhere, with many people vowing that they would not vote if my name was not on the ballot. By the time I got home, everyone knew about this and many came to console me as if it was a funeral. My father came, too.

“That was the work of God,” he said, adding that it was clear God wanted to protect me from something bigger that would have come my way had I chosen to proceed and contest.

With my dreams of becoming an MP now shattered, I decided to focus all my energies on the school. While I did not do much at school last week – in fact I went there just twice – this is a warning to all the teachers and pupils of Mwisho wa Lami Primary School: tighten your belts. Starting tomorrow!