Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Murithi stunned members of the public when he snatched a microphone from primary school children for singing a song apparently portraying him in bad light.
In the Friday, June 8, incident Muiithi allegedly stood up from his seat, went straight to the band leader of Tharua Primary School and took away the microphone.
According to Kenya News Agency (KNA) report of Monday, June 12, Muriithi was incensed when the pupils of the school satirized a song highlighting failure of the county government in building them a toilet.
The county chief reportedly shoved decorum aside and scolded the pupils who were part of the entertainment teams lined up to charm guests during the launch of construction of a theater as Lamuria Hospital where Muriithi was the main guest.
Muriithi is reported to have sent back the pupils to class and accused their teachers of converting the children into beggars.
“The children were performing a song indicating they did not have toilets and were requesting the county leadership to intervene. The message packaged in a comic way and this did not go well with the governor,” a source privy to the incident said.
The incident attracted fury from education stakeholders led by the area branch of Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) which demanded an apology from the governor for his action.
“It is immoral for the governor to reprimand pupils who innocently requested him to construct a toilet for their school through a song. The governor needs to go personally go to the school and unconditionally apologize to the pupils, teacher and parents failure to which he will face the teachers wrath,” said Jacinta Negwa, KNUT national women representative from Laikipia.
The teachers’ representative who spoke in Nyahururu on Monday, June 11, said Muriithi’s action had traumatised and demoralised pupils. “The governor’s actions will make the pupils live in fear and feel intimidated whenever they are called upon to sing. Songs and dance have been from ancient times used to pass messages and nobody should be punished for using this art to address real issues in society,” added Ndegwa.
Ndegwa who was in company of KNUT Laikipia branch chairman Francis Kariuki and vice chairperosn Kipkoech Birgen said the occurrence had angered teachers and they would do whatever it takes to avert future happenings of similar nature.
They challenged the governor to instead visit the school, assess the need for toilets and help the pupils out rather than scolding them for speaking the truth and asking for help. “In case anything happens to the teacher who composed the song, the governor will be answerable,” she added.
Muchiri Gitonga from Muriithi’s press service said they would not apologize for anything saying pupils should be in class learning and not entertaining politicians.
“We are unapologetic for everything. Pupils are not entertainers and should have been in class. Primary schools are a function of the national government too,” Gitonga said.