Panic At TSC As Staff Are Sent On Leave, Decry Frustrations
A climate of anxiety has hit the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) headquarters and field offices following drastic changes that saw a shake-up of senior officials serving at the influential teacher management department. In an unprecedented developments, Rita Wahome, the Director of Staffing who was widely seen as the darling of the Commission boss, Nancy Macharia was sent on compulsory leave under unclear circumstances along with the Deputy Director in Charge of Performance Contracting George Okinda. Also affected in the reshuffle is Dorothy Chonji, the Deputy Director in charge of Secondary schools who has been moved to the less glamorous ICT section in the Administration Department. There were speculations at the commission that one of the two officers sent on compulsory leave had handed in a resignation letter.
Antonina Lentoijoni, the Deputy Director in charge of tertiary institutions has taken over from Wahome in an acting capacity. Lentoijoni is one of the longest serving officers within the staffing department. Anxiety has gripped the commission with staff speaking in low tones unsure who follows next in the unfolding environment. It was not immediately clear what occasioned the unprecedented changes, but those in the know linked the decisions to how the recent recruitment and promotion of teachers was conducted.
The transfer of school heads conducted in May this year also sparked a huge storm. In September last year, TSC employed over 5,000 teachers and deployed them to various public primary and secondary schools around the country. At the same time, the Commission promoted 16,000 teachers following interviews carried out in December 2020 and February this year. There were protests by the Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) over the manner in which the transfer of principals was conducted. They said that some Chief Principals who are expected to serve in National and Extra-County schools were moved to County schools which went against the norm, an issue TSC promised to address.
When contacted to shed light on the changes, the Commission’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Nancy Macharia denied reports that some officers had been sent on leave and demanded to know who was fueling the rumours. In a text message she wrote “We are not aware of any official being sent on suspension on the matters that you have asked.” She added: “Could you tell us where you got the information from so that we look at it because TSC has not suspended any official.”
Rita, a former Nguviu Girls High School Principal who later rose to become the TSC County Director for Nyeri joined the Commission headquarters in mid-2018. She replaced Mary Rotich who had been acting in the position for several years following the elevation of Macharia to the topmost position in the organisation. It was widely expected at the time that Rotich who had worked closely with Macharia for long and was as her faithful deputy would have been confirmed in the position. She was, however, not confirmed but was instead deployed to a relatively less visible portfolio dubbed Director of Field Services. Rotich headed the Teacher Management Department under the tenure of former TSC CEO Gabriel Lengoiboni. The Teacher Management Department is at the core of TSC functions and whoever is assigned to take charge of that docket holds sweeping powers that are the lifeline of teaching service. The job involves among others recruitment of teachers, their deployment, transfers and promotion of the educators as well as inservice training of the tutors.
This is not the first time that senior employees of the Commission have left the organisation in frustration. Last year, for instance, Josephine Maundu, a longtime Head of Human Resource Management and Development left in a huff and took the option of an early retirement due to what insiders termed interference with her work. Later, the Head of Corporate Communications, Kihumba Kamotho, then considered an able staffer by the TSC boss, was transferred to an office in the Quality Assurance section. He was later moved to Baringo County to be assigned some unknown duties and Kamotho later passed on.
His successor at the Corporate Communications office, Beatrice Wababu resigned barely two years after assuming the job. She is said to have quit her work due to alleged frustrations