NAIROBI – Diligent and respected Nairobi School Principal, Mr Cleophas Tirop, has finally been sworn in by the Kenyan Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga to be a Commissioner with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) in a historic move that has put to rest a running legal tussle surrounding the controversial issue that elicited wide interest and eyebrows in several social, political and academic circles.
A prolonged court battle preceded the saga that saw two other people who had been recommended for employment as commissioners locked out.
The duo, Fredrick Haga Ochieng and Adan Sheikh Abdullahi, will have to hold their horses for a longer period now in their quest to be commissioners at the teacher employer.
And following the historic appointment of Mr Tirop, several Kenyan leaders applauded the move and held celebrations particularly in the North Rift region of the expansive Rift Valley province, where they welcomed Tirop’s appointment with zeal.
Led by councilor David ole Mutai, the leaders lauded the government over Tirop’s appointment saying it was a deserving case.
“We take this golden opportunity to congratulate Mr Tirop over his appointment and we urge him to commit himself in offering exemplary service to the public like he has always done as principal of Nairobi school”, said councilor Mutai, who said Tirop’s new role was not a mean task.
Councilor Mutai expressed hope that Mr Tirop would overcome the challenges while serving the people.
The people of Songoliet sub-location in the Uasin Gishu county, where Mutai hails from, lauded Tirop for constructing a laboratory for local students using his own resources.
“We never contributed anything not even a penny, and it was Mr Tirop who donated all the money for the Laboratory’s construction”, asserted councilor Mutai.
He exhorted the commissioner to continue in the same spirit and extolled his virtues of dedication to duty, humility and being mindful of other peoples welfare.
“History will judge Mr Tirop very kindly and very appreciatively for what he has done for the Kenyan nation in moulding students to be responsible and vital assets of economic development. Mr Tirop is among personalities who have shaped the country’s progress, and he will forever be part of our national memory”, councilor Mutai stated emphatically.
The High Court had nullified the appointment of three commissioners even after Parliament cleared their names.
This was also after the House rejected the initial list sent to Parliament terming it a dangerous precedent that did not reflect merit.
Among those interviewed for the position of chairperson were the commission’s director of policy at the ministry of education, Kirago wa Magochi and Simon Kavisi both of TSC.
After interviews, conducted by educationist James Kamunge, Lydia Nzomo who is the director of Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development was top but her name was missing in the final list presented to the House.
Tirop who is also the national chairman of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) had emerged tops in the commissioners’ category but his name was omitted in the final list.
Consequently, teachers unions weighed in demanding regional balance and merit be factored in the appointment of the commissioners.
Justice was finally served after parliament cleared the name of Mr Tirop who is the Nairobi School Principal and Chairman of Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (KESSHA) to be appointed as commissioner to the Teachers Service Commission.
Confusion had earlier marred the exercise after Mr. Tirop’s name was dropped from the nominees list even after he scored the highest marks in a vigorous interview to fill the position of commissioners to the new TSC.
Mr. Tirop’s name had to be returned on the list after several professional bodies intervened.
Teachers had earlier through KNUT and KESSHA raised alarm over the shocking anomaly.
When then President Mwai Kibaki and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga forwarded the names to parliament for vetting, Mr. Tirop’s name passed together with three other nominees.
The others whose names passed the parliament test were Fredrick Ochieng, and Adan Sheikh Abdullahi.
However, Parliament rejected Kibaki’s and Odinga’s choice of chairperson of the teachers service commission.
The two former principals had approved Kiragu wa Magochi to head the TSC, but parliament declined to give him the green light.
The teachers service commission is being reconstituted to make it more independent and efficient as set out in the constitution.