Pupils demonstrate over jailing of head teacher

Over 400 pupils of Consolata Primary School in Karaba, Mbeere South Sub County on Thursday held a peaceful demonstration over the jailing of their head teacher on a court order.

The pupils who were accompanied by their parents boycotted classes and camped at the nearby Karaba primary school, disrupting learning at the institution.

They claimed that their head teacher, Patrick Mutuku who was posted at the catholic sponsored school four months ago was arrested and detained at the Embu prison for a crime he was unaware of.

Mutuku was arrested on Wednesday and jailed for 30 days without the option of fine for failing to attend court sessions were his school was accused of failing to pay a contractor Shs. 400, 000 in arrears accrued in 2010 for the construction of two classrooms.

According to the contempt letter, the arrears will rise to Shs.1.2million by the time he clears the jail term.

Led by Martha Ng’ang’a, a Board member at the school, the demonstrators claimed that the contractor did not finish the work which he was given in 2010 even as he went to court to have all his arrears of Shs.75, 000 settled.

Ng’ang’a said the contractor had been given a certificate of completion despite leaving part of the work unfinished, which the Works Ministry valued at Shs.32, 000.

She said the head teacher was not aware of the case as well as any summons to have him arrested since he was new at the school.

Ng’ang’a wondered why a case that was determined in 2014, would come to haunt the teacher who has just been posted at the school, yet those who failed to pay the contractor were free.

She said the school does not have the financial capacity to offset the debt and called on the Education Ministry to assist.

About Shs.1.6million was given by the area Constituency Development Fund for construction of two classrooms but the head teacher then failed to offset the contractor’s dues. Why was he transferred then if the Education Ministry knew that he was culpable, she said.

Benjamin Mutisya, a local leader blamed the situation to the gaps in communication by the court to the school over their ruling.

He said the situation could have been avoided had the Education Ministry and stakeholders worked at an out of the court settlement with the contractor.

Mutisya added that the head teacher was a victim of laxity by Education officials in handling the welfare of their staff.

He also called on the Education Ministry to investigate the contractor who they said used corrupt means to get the certificate of completion without completing works in the school.

The pupils and parents vowed that learning will not continue until the head teacher is released.

Source: Kenya News Agency