I am reading in the news that Dr. Fred Matiangi, the Education Cabinet Secretary, yesterday drove into Nyamache Secondary School in Kisii County, ripped the students apart and warned them with dire consequences if they attempted to emulate their friends in Itieirio, who razed down 7 domitories the previous night.
The news is that the students did not even allow him to touch down Nairobi safely. No sooner had the abrasive CS left the school than the students, who had been sufficiently rained on by the CS, decided to put the warnings into the ultimate test – going on a rampage and setting some blocks on fire.
Let me tell you something.
The average High School student in this country do not know how Dr. Matiang’i looks like; and they don’t care. If you are looking for a generation that would weaken at the knees when Dr. Matiang’i is speaking, that generation is not this one currently in High School.
The reason those who went to school in the ‘90s and early ‘00s quake in their boots at the sight of authority voices like Matiangi is because we plucked that trait from home. My father was a no-nonesense disciplinarian, whenever he was summoned to school for a disciplinary matter involving any of his children he would arrive with a stick of his own – ready to beat us into a pulp. Severally, it was the teachers who pleaded with my father not to kill us in their sight. Some of us loved being in school a little longer because home was unbearable. And we were not alone.
But look at this generation currently in High School. They wouldn’t listen to authority from Nairobi even if they came with a fire-breathing dragon. This age-group can sing word-for-word the lyrics to all Diamond Platinumz songs. They know how much Kanye West is worth. If you are looking for a politician to send to a high school to ask them to tone down their panache, Dr. Matiang’i would be the last person to be sent to appeal to their emotional conscience. Mike Sonko would be a safer bet. Willy Paul would almost do the trick.
I know most of you don’t watch television that much, but I want to kindly ask you to take a bit of your time watching KUBAMBA – Sunday, starting 11am to 12.45pm, on Citizen TV. The show is modelled around taking new age gospel to High Schools all over the country, while appealing to their musical touch. The organisers have this idea of going with an Old Boy or Old Girl, who is of national repute, to offer them some motivational talk. That section is always the dullest. Jacob Ghost Mulee was taken back to his Ofafa Jericho School and the kids kept wondering when the session will end so that they can get down to an earthshaking jig. Wacha time ya ngoma ifike. You should see those children dance themselves silly; I have had to cover my face in disbelief the way they twerk their tail feathers dry.
The reason those kids from Nyamache burnt down their school even after being warned of dire consequences is because they have no attachment to Dr. Matiang’i or any government authority. The school administration can be rattled by tough talk from the Ministry of Education but the children would never be. If that child is expelled today, I can assure you here, and now, that their parents would find them a school tomorrow, without batting an eyelid. The children know this; that their parents will always have their backs in whatever they do. And if they ask for a transfer, their wish will be their parents’ command. You know its true.
Look, and please don’t ignore this: You and I know of children who miserably failed in their KCPE but because their parents are high up the government food chain, they are now in Public National Schools taking the space of poor children who could not afford school fees. They bought those places, with money that can buy a plot in Kitengela and leave me with enough loose change to throw a round to a million friends. You and I also know of those KCSE students who failed miserably but are now in Medical School, or Law School, or Engineering School, privately-sponsored. These are harsh truths we must confront, because it is where the rain started beating this hypocritical society.
These bad manners, of burning schools without a care in the world, begin right from home – and perpetuated by a murky system that rewards mediocrity and punishes hard work. I am ready to bet my last coin that the ring leader of that gang who went to torch school property in Nyamache comes from a background of privilege. He knows, like you and me, that even if he gets expelled, his parents will effortlessly work up the phone lines to get him a new school within no time. He has been brought up in a world of endless options, where a treasonable act is rewarded with a slap on the wrist. It is the same way this society deals with grand corruption, where those who loot public coffers get heavily rewarded with high-profile jobs.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” – Robert Fulghum