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Teacher nursing injuries after Samburu moran students attacked him for insisting on “one plate, one student” eating policy

A secondary school teacher at Oldonyiro High School in Isiolo County is nursing injuries inflicted on him by students after a disagreement.

Mr. Pius Mugambi, who has been teaching Mathematics and Physics in the school for the last three and half years, reportedly gave a directive to put to an end the culture of sharing plates during meal times, a directive that was unpopular among circumcised young Samburu Men (morans).

The morans prefer to eat from a common tray or plate, away from the glare of other people including fellow students.

According to Mr. Mugambi, a section of the morans at the school had already warned him of dire consequences if he continued to pursue the “one student one plate” directive. Despite the threats, he maintained that no student would be allowed to share plates while he was on duty. This stand put him at loggerheads with the morans who vowed to “discipline’’ him.

On Wednesday evening, June 30 as Mr. Mugambi was leaving the neighboring police canteen where he had gone to buy a packet of milk, a student well known to him hit him hard with a club on his head, sending him tumbling down into the road side gully.

Other morans joined in beating him up as he screamed for help, attracting the attention of a police officer who rushed to the scene and rescued him.

The injured teacher reported the matter to Oldonyiro Police Station before seeking treatment at the Oldonyiro Dispensary.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Isiolo branch, led by the Executive Secretary Moses Kimwere, has decried the increasing cases of students roughing up their teachers in the area.

Mr. Kimwere said that a teacher at Elsa Secondary School also has scars after he was bitten on the cheek by a student nabbed cheating during exams.

Similarly, another teacher was reportedly attacked by his students and his motorbike torched as he was going home from Leparua Secondary School.

“Isiolo teachers will not tolerate any further harassment by their own students or members of the local communities. We will be forced to withdraw our services from unsafe schools if the government does not act fast on the perpetrators of the physical attacks on teachers and compensate the victims adequately,” says Mr. Kimwere.

The Samburu Council of Elders’ Isiolo Chapter Chairperson Joyce Nairisiae condemned the act, appealing to parents not to abdicate their roles in guiding their children even after they undergo the circumcision right of passage.

Ms. Nairisiae says that schools only have students and not morans, calling upon all learners to behave accordingly to avoid ruining their future. She warned that the perennial teacher attacks in Oldonyiro area could spark a mass exodus of non-local teachers who are the majority in the area, leaving the native schools struggling with a severe shortage of teachers.

She however expressed optimism that the matter will be addressed amicably between the government, teachers’ unions and the local Samburu community to ensure that such occurrences are not repeated in future.

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