The Kenya Coast National Polytechnic (KCNP) administration now has embarked on an elaborate and massive cover-up of scams at the institution, we can authoritatively report.
Key part of the cover-up schemes involves engineering transfer of targeted Public Service Commission (PSC) staff and outright sacking of scores of council trainers, all of whom the administration hushedly blames for blowing whistles on a series of scandals that have continued to dog KCNP over the last one year and a half.
The scams in question include abuse of financial votes, violation of TVET circulars from Jogoo House, illegal deduction of council trainers salaries, compromise on training quality, and verbal insults on dissenters.
The staff agitation recently prompted a senior Polytechnic official to be summoned to Jogoo House Nairobi and being made to write an explanation.
However, the move by Chief Principal Ms Anne Mbogo to address the current crisis by punishing and firing staff, rather than talking with them to find solutions, has split her management down at the middle.
It is now an open secret that half of the Polytechnic workforce is so much disgruntled with the current management that staff complaints have become fodder for any staff gathering in and out of the Polytechnic and on social media platforms.
A banter by some members of staff joking that KCNP is the next institution to be placed under KDF is a symptom of a situation gone awry.
Also, the staff resentments recently manifested in a general academic staff meeting where over a half of the academic staff boycotted it for a second time and remained unperturbed by threats of “to show cause” for the snub. Impeccable sources told www.cnyakundi.com that during a staff meeting held three weeks ago on December 8 to mark the end of the year, only 110 persons attended the otherwise mandatory event while 170 workers boycotted.
When talking to this writer, one senior administrator, who is one of those finding it hard to accept how the school is being run, said: “It is true several of our trainers wrote to parliament asking the House Education Committee to inquire into a number of quite weighty issues here. I am surprised, indeed shocked that the administration is trying to move fast to fire council trainers and push out some PSC members before the House Committee comes here to get the truth.
“As a matter of fact, some of us are much concerned with the way this school is being run, as if it’s a personal business rather than a public academic entity.”
Two senior officials in the Polytechnic are said to enjoy the patronage of a senior person at the education ministry’s Jogoo House and 99 per cent of employees at the Polytechnic believe that Prof George Magoha might not be aware of the rot at KCNP due to misinformation and staged PR by the current administration.
The administrators have openly declared that “workers are not going to dictate things to the management” while the trainers feel that the high-handed and unilateral style adopted by the current KCNP administration is untenable in any academic institution of its stature.
While many of the 115 PSC trainers at KCNP have been expressing sentiments over unfairness in the distribution of responsibilities, council trainers on the other hand have been pushing for better terms and conditions and demanding the release of millions of shillings diverted from their earnings in unclear circumstances since February 2021.
In their recent petition to parliament, the KCNP trainers raised a red flag on, among other things, numerous workshops and seminars that are held on a continuous basis in five-star beach hotels fearing that some of them could be conduits used to channel financial votes into pockets of preferred individuals.
Moreso because workers who are not in the good books of the administration are allegedly excluded from such events.
Other aspects of the scheme crafted to chuck out disgruntled workers include a unilateral decision by the top management to send more than half the population of students for a 5-month vacation and unscheduled industrial attachments.
This closure has left students who had been inconvenienced by Covid closure crying foul because the closure will prolong their diploma courses to 4 calendar years and three months. Some students and guardians have threatened to sue the school over the decision come arguing that it flouts the guardian and student’s contract with the school.
Other tactics being used by the administration include giving inducements to student leaders to contain their discontent (through treats in beach hotels); removing unfriendly PSC and council trainers from all lucrative responsibilities and outright intimidation of half of the HODs, whom the majority of staff regard as the voice of reason through the administration trash their views with hostility.
Another tactic that spoke volumes included the exclusion of council trainers from a recreational two-day tour of Malindi and Maasai Mara by the rest of the institution’s staff on December 11-12, and 17-22, 2021, respectively, at a cost of sh 5 million.
A section of KCNP trainers enjoying water sport during fully paid up tour of Malindi last month. pic.twitter.com/XKqBkPkvN2
— Cyprian Nyakundi (@CisN001) January 29, 2022
Several staff say they felt uneasy going for the merry treats while seeing their fellow workers close for Christmas without their salary in the pocket just because Chief Principal was away in Tanzania and South Africa consecutively.
The staff have also raised doubts over the commitment of the current administration to the future of KCNP. For example, we have learnt that when one HOD said lack of trainers was affecting the performance of his students, the administration suggested scrapping the program, a move that left staff in the meeting shocked.
“If the leadership problems at KCNP are not addressed now, a few years down the line we would go the way Moi University is going,” a veteran trainer said referring to the current financial crisis in Moi University, which has left it insolvent.
The trainer said it is wrong for Jogoo House to retain Chief Principal, her Deputy and Council Chairman who come from the same (in this case Mt Kenya) region, and to continue ignoring glaring acts of misgovernance and impunity in the Polytechnic at a time it is earmarked by the government as a key entity on technical training and innovation within vision 2030.
A senior administrator privy to what he calls “evil schemes to victimize and coerce staff” said the current administration is likely to become a huge liability to their purported patrons in high offices since an imminent industrial case could end up costing the institution tens of millions of shillings, just like it happened in a near similar case where a court recently has awarded laid-off workers of the Technical University of Mombasa over Ksh 100 million.
KCNP graduates from engineering, business, hospitality, journalism, and applied science remain in hot demand in the labour market due to their high standard of competency and discipline.
KCNP students try to search for their official industrial attachment letters from a heap on the floor at the KCNP offices last month. The Institution has sent them on an abrupt attachment. pic.twitter.com/OyO8h4YyKe
— Cyprian Nyakundi (@CisN001) January 29, 2022
However, many workers say if the misgovernance of the institution is not nipped in the bud the Polytechnic is likely to lose its highly skilled trainers and mentors who have made the school reputable and centre of excellence.
They also accuse the current administration of introducing weird policies after benchmarking with inferior technical institutes whereas three years ago the institution used to benchmark with Canadian and American institutes in all academic and administrative functions.
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