Daring the Wolves III-By Edward Maroncha

(Continued from Daring the Wolves II)

“I don’t think we should spread panic before we understand what is going on,” Christopher tells Eunice. “I think I can handle Dr. Maugu, and after he has left, then we can be left to find the principal. Dr. Maugu is just coming to sign the contract renewal, isn’t he?”

“Yes he is. There were additions on to the new contract, because he also wants to start purchasing fish. It is all in the contract. You can skim through before I let him in. I think the principal has already signed it because he prefers to sign documents before meetings. But if he hasn’t, I think you can sign on his behalf. He was going to sign anyway, so there won’t be a problem.”

Eunice knows that Bernard trusts Christopher, and that is why she called him. Christopher has been the Deputy Principal at Gakondo High School for fifteen years. Before that he was the discipline master at Matogo High for six years. Christopher, Bernard and Eunice have known each other for over twenty years. They all came to Gakondo High together from Matogo High. When Owino, the former Matogo High School principal released Bernard to come and head Gakondo, Bernard requested that he be allowed to leave with his secretary, Eunice, and Christopher. Owino released both of them, and then worked his connections once again to have Christopher promoted and transferred to Gakondo.

Christopher is a sharp man, and Eunice knows that he has what it takes to lead the school after Bernard retires. He is a short but very intense man. He shares very many personal traits with Bernard: the first and most of which is their shared love for the school. Eunice knows that Christopher should have been promoted to be a principal years ago, but he has stayed put because he knows that Bernard wants him to take over Gakondo High. Eunice also knows that Bernard has been thinking about taking early retirement after attaining fifty five years. That way, he will get his pension and Christopher will also get fifteen years at the helm. Nobody else knows about Bernard’s plans though.

“The principal has already signed,” Christopher says. “Just tell them to get in. I will skim as we talk.”


After the departure of Dr. Maugu and the Farm Director, Christopher calls Eunice back into the office. Both of them are 45, and in private they talk like peers. They have a mutual non-romantic liking for each other, and a shared devotion to Bernard.

“Who do you think could have taken him?” Eunice asks when she gets in.

“There are many people who would want him dead, Eunice. The Governor, the area MP, that businessman called Kiura who wanted to supply animal feeds at double the price and many other businessmen who wanted to do shady deals at the farm but he turned them down.”

“I know all that. I guess what I wanted to ask is, who is most likely amongst them to have taken him? I think by now we agree that he did not leave willingly.”

“It is the Governor who took him. He has the desire and the financial ability to have pulled this through. I think we should talk to the Old Man about this. I suspect he will know that to do.”

The Old Man is Owino, their former boss at Matogo High. He was nicknamed the Old Man because that is how he liked to describe himself to students. Christopher and Eunice are afraid of going to the police because the local police bosses are all corrupt and are part of the cartel that has wanted to take control of the school. Owino has contacts at the national level, going back to his days as the national chairman of the Kenya Secondary Schools Association, and that could help.

Christopher takes his phone and calls Owino. He informs him about Bernard’s disappearance and their suspicion. The Old Man tells them to meet him in his house, which is about thirty minutes’ drive away. Eunice has an ageing Toyota Corolla, but they agree to go in Christopher’s Toyota Mark X.


Owino is Bernard’s mentor, and a man that both Christopher and Eunice admire from afar. He is the one who taught Bernard everything he knows about transforming a school into an academic giant. Matogo High was a sleeping giant when Owino took over. It had not gotten a mean score above 6.8 for over twenty years, although everyone knew that the school had been a top performer in the sixties, seventies and eighties. Its performance had started dipping the late eighties.

The biggest problem at Matogo was indiscipline of both teachers and students. The students used to riot at the slightest provocation; they did not follow instructions and were generally unruly. But the teachers were no better. Many were running their private businesses during school hours, and nobody cared which classes were attended and which ones were not. Successive principals were busy lining their pockets from school coffers and so did not care. In short, the school was running on autopilot.

The first thing that Owino did on his first day as the principal of Matogo High was to call a meeting of all students, teacher and parents. He introduced a raft of measures to return the school to its former glory. By vowing to do everything to ensure that the students passed, he won over parents to his corner. But the meeting had the opposite effect on teachers and students.

Owino pushed through with his plans; he made school assemblies compulsory for teachers, and made it known that any teacher who skipped classes would face consequences. He introduced morning preps and made them compulsory. Resentment started building against him, and within three months of his arrival, the students went on a major rampage in which they razed down four dormitories, a laboratory and two classes.

That is precisely what he had wanted.

Whenever the school went on strike, the students would be readmitted into the school with a token amount of one thousand five hundred shillings to cater for “damages”. This time though, Owino had different ideas. He invited local police detectives to help with investigations. Six teachers and twelve support staff were implicated in the strike. The support staff members were fired, and the teachers were reported to TSC and interdicted.

Owino expelled fifty students who were directly implicated in the strike, and demanded that the rest clear their school fees and also cater for reconstruction of the buildings that had been torched before being re-admitted. In total, a quarter of the student population did not make it back after the strike.

Owino had made his point. He now had a team of teachers, students and support staff that was willing to do what he was saying. That proved to be the turning around moment for the school. By the time Owino retired, Matogo High was a top school nationally.


It was Owino who engineered the promotion of the then thirty-five year old Bernard to the position of Deputy Principal. Years later, he told Bernard that he had seen a “kindred spirit” in him. He knew that Owino wanted him to take over when he retired, but that changed when the principal of Gakondo High died through a road accident.

Gakondo High is in Bernard’s home area, and Bernard was convinced he could apply the skills he had learnt from his mentor and lift the school from the ashes. He talked to the older man, and Owino not only gave him his blessings, but he also pledged to help him get a promotion to become a principal and be posted to Gakondo High. Owino was the chairperson of the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association at the time, and he had connections in every part of the education sector, including TSC.

Two weeks after their conversation, Bernard received a letter from TSC sending him to Gakondo High as the principal; Christopher got his promotion and transfer at the same time, so they left Matogo together.


Owino is sitting on the porch of his house, waiting for his guests. He is sipping his tea while reading a newspaper. He lives on his farm with his wife Harriet, who is also a retired teacher. Their life is comfortable. In the course of their careers, they invested in farming. On their fifteen acre farm, five acres are dedicated to tea. Like other small scale farmers in the area, they sell their tea to KTDA through their local factory. They grow tomatoes on five acres using greenhouses. They hope to export tomatoes one day, but for now they mostly sell the tomatoes to hotels. On the last five acres they mainly do subsistence farming. They have maize, bananas, arrow roots, sweet potatoes and cassava on that plot. They have two cows and about twenty chicken. Most of the food Owino and his wife eat comes from the farm, and they also send a lot of farm produce to their two children and their families.

Owino is just about to call Christopher when his phone rings. It is a distressed Eunice on the line,

“Can you come to Gakondo Police Station?”

“Why? What is the matter?”

“Christopher has been arrested.”


“On our way to your house, we were stopped by the police. They searched the car, and said that they had found rolls of bhang in the car. They arrested both of us and impounded the car. But they have just released me. You are the first person I called because I did not know who else to call.”

“Let me get this straight Eunice. You are telling me that Bernard has disappeared and barely an hour later Christopher has been arrested on trumped up charges?

“Yes sir.”

“The wolves that want to take control of Gakondo High are really serious this time round, aren’t they?”

“They are sir.”

“I am on my way.”

(Continued Here)

Image by Hakan Yildirim from Pixabay:


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