Members of the community whose children school at Bishop Okiring Kamuneru High School in Mt Elgon are up in arms and have called for the transfer of its principal David Otieno. They have accused Otieno of running the school single-handedly, running it with iron-fist, and disregarding the board of management recommendations. “We want him transferred! He is running down the school. He is not uniting teachers but instead, works with a few of them that he can easily manipulate,” said Kiprotich Ndiema. Ndiema claims that reports from the school indicate that already, the principal has sold 45 bags of maize in the school store at the cost of Sh123, 000 and pocketed the money.
“On June 3 and 5 2020, he sold 45 bags and the school is only remaining with seven bags. What if the school is opened now? What will students eat?” he posed. There is a narrative that in order to achieve his goal, the principal allegedly enrolls the services of the school boarding master, Hillary Maitui, to fulfill his motives of stealing from the school, according to documents in our possession. Ndiema says that according to their investigations, the maize said to have been sold is not documented anywhere in the school’s books of accounts. “The school bursar was not involved in the transaction of maize nor is there balancing of the books of accounts,” he said. “Parents supplied maize to school as school fees at Sh90 per gorogoro (2kg), but he disposed it off at Sh80 each. The money was never banked anywhere as it was pocketed by the principal and his accomplices,” a parent said. Ndiema says that when he was also planning to dispose off beans at Sh150 per bag despite the school buying it at Sh200, the board stopped it.
Reports indicate that the principal has not paid BoM teachers or the subordinate staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.
On the other hand, the principal is also accused of misusing the school bus as a cash cow to enrich himself. A source close to the ongoing circus, blame Otieno of running the institution of learning with an iron fist in total disregard to recommendations by the school board that since the school received the bus KCT074Y from Mt Elgon NG-CDF in August 2019 to March 2020, it had collected over Sh500,000 from hired trips. However, word has it that despite making the huge steps that would enrich the school, the principal has gone ahead to pocket all the received cash. Fuel cost and driver allowance of Sh300,000 are all missing. “Despite the board passing resolutions in September 2020 for him to open the bus account, he has never heeded to their recommendations to open any until March 2020 when some parts of the bus were stolen at night,” said the source. Some of the fuel tickets show exaggerations in costs, for example; Kamuneru to Kisumu would cost the school Sh8,000, Kamuneru to Busia Sh14,000 while Kamuneru to Kakamega would cost the school Sh17, 000 which is abnormal in nature. Otieno is also accused of non-teaching despite being allocated some subjects to handle. “Since he was posted to the school from May up to December 2018, he has never gone to class despite allocating himself Biology, Agriculture subjects, this is discouraging his juniors despite being a team leader and a role model,” said a source. The unfolding events forced the board to hire a teacher to help students. “The board raised the issue with the Mt Elgon sub-county director of education and TSC director but in vain as nothing had taken place up to the time the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March 2020,” he said. “How was he appraised when he doesn’t attend classes? He doesn’t have the scheme of work while his bosses are just silent despite the issue being raised by the board,” she added. Efforts to get a comment from Otieno to clear the air on the allegations hit a snag as he could not receive calls nor respond to messages. Contacted, Mt Elgon sub-county director of education Donald Etyang, denied having heard or received any complaints from the school. “I’m not even aware of what you are talking about and I’m not protecting anybody. If the complaints arise, we will take the necessary action after our investigations,” he said.