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MUTAI:How to give back to Tseikuru Primary

I really don’t know when Tseikuru Primary School was started but word on the street suggests it is the oldest school in Tseikuru Sub County. Between 1960 and 1967, it was already operational. That is when the former Vice President Dr. Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka attended Primary School Education before proceeding to Kitui School for Ordinary level (O level) and eventually Meru School for Advanced level (A level).

Former Vice President Dr Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka. He is the most prominent alumnus of Tseikuru Primary School./FILE 

Some legendary teachers associated with the school include Mr. Francis Katũngũ Mwangangi, Mr. David Ngũi Mũsila (retired chief), the late Mr. Mũsangilũ, the late Mr. Daniel N. Malĩku, and Mr. Jerimoth K. Mwasya (former KNUT official).

Tseikurũ Primary School lies between coordinates 0.30716˚ S latitude, 38.21644˚ E longitude. The name is pronounced Syĩkurũ by Akamba or Cĩkurũ by Atharaka, a Meru subtribe. 

The name probably comes from Ĩkurũ which is a local name for man’s best friend, the dog. So it could mean “belonging to Ĩkurũ.”  It makes sense since people from this area are brave and keen on protecting their own just like the name suggests. 

The school is under the National Government/DEB. It is a day school for both boys and girls who attend same classrooms. Mostly, all classes are divided into two streams.

Centre of Excellence

For the better part of first decade of this millennium, Tseikuru Primary elbowed her way up in the then larger Mwingi district map with excellent performance in all school activities. Being centrally placed within the region, it served as the headquarters for many events pertaining all the schools from the same district (now sub county). The events included marking of common exams, prize giving day events, sports competitions as well as NGO-sponsored exercises.

Heroes and Heroines

The School’s large playground served as the big screen from which major Primary School tournaments were followed live. Many great athletes who have used that playground have seen their extra-curricula activities performances help them secure good jobs out there. During athletics, back then there used to be two young men from Tseikuru, Kyalo Mũĩthya aka Busscar and Makau Kitheka aka Kĩkandi who used to dominate the short races up to Provincials and/or National levels. 

Other excellent sportspersons included Juma Kimwele who used to represent Ciokereke but past zonals level he was assimilated as “a Tseikuru player.” There was a season Juma and the Busscar went up to the Nationals due to their exemplary performance.
Today Mr. Juma Kimwele is a senior member in the ranks of Kenya Defense Forces.

In the spirit of (Mũkasa) volley ball

When it came to ball games, Tseikuru Primary School never fell short of talents. Some people used to argue that players were poached from neighboring schools but maybe they just wanted to play for the “giant”. There once was a very indomitable volleyball team which consisted of the late Mr. Mwasya E. Mathembe (Senze), Mr. Moses Muthui (Mathua), Mr. Mũkiti G. Mũsili (Giddy), Mr. Mũnyoki P. Mũkũni, Mr. Ngui C. Kimwele(Mũkũrũ), Mr. Sammy Muatha, Mr. Mwendwa Mũlũngũ(soldier), Mr. Peter Muthengi (Kwa Vere), Mr. Mavinda and their coach Mr. Kilonzi Kĩsĩla (Njaka Njaka). This team remains the golden generation of volley ballers to play for Tseikuru Primary to date.

Several comrades from this team are serving the nation under various categories.

The Genius Late Legend

The primary objective of a school has always been academics. It would be an insult to end this piece without a paragraph on academics. In my estimation, the second greatest person after Kalonzo to ever pass via this institution is the late Mr. Gideon Mũsee Mũlwa fondly known as Kĩsee. The kid had a photographic memory, so he was a genius by all standards.

The late Gideon Musee Mulwa. The genius attended both Starehe Boys' and the University of Nairobi. He was a student taking a degree in Architecture in his fifth year when he passed on eight years ago.

He used to tell me that the first day he joined nursery at TSK, he was able to write names of all his classmates. Many pupils from upper classes were embarrassed by this because some could not even spell their own names correctly. 

Kĩsee is said to have been top of his class from Standard 1 to Standard 8. The only exception, was during Class 5, when a Kavonokya girl from Kamanga Village called Tabitha Mũthui Kivoto, showed him dust.
Wiper party leader Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka casts his ballot at Tseikuru Primary School in 2022 general elections.

 At some point Kĩsee "eloped" the school for almost one term, after he was found singing a controversial Nzaĩko [initiation ceremony] song in school by one member of staff. Fearing he would be reported to his family at home, he used trucks which used to ferry goods to and fro Meru, to escape the ordeal.

 After almost three months of absence from the school, he still came back, sat for the exams and topped the class. During his final year, He made a record at the school by scoring 415 out of 500. He was the either second or third pupil in the Tseikuru Sub County. The current County Assembly of Kitui Speaker Kevin Kinengo Katisya led the list from Musavani Primary School. 

Kĩsee then was invited to join the prestigious Starehe Boys’ Centre and School, He scored some 81/84 points which secured him a place in the UoN school of Architectural studies. Unfortunately, he passed on during his 5th and final year.  His record is unmatched. Many comrades immortalize him for his great talent.

A signpost at Starehe Boys' Centre in Nairobi City county.

Members of Staff During the Golden Years

During my time there, I was honored to walk on grounds stepped by many legends before me. Then pupils could come from as far as Mwingi, Katse, Kathũngũ, Kakaũnĩ, Mĩramba Ĩkamba, Tharaka Nithi, Mũnyũmbũnĩ and Kamũwongo to quench their thirst for education.

Mr. Kilonzi Kisila (Njakaranda) was the school cook and watchman while Madam Martha was the school Matron for the Girls. 

The school then was mixed Day and Boarding. Boarders used to refer to the School as St. Malĩku’s Academy. He was the then head teacher before being replaced by Mr. Jerimoth Mwasya.  

Other Members of Staff included; Mrs. Mwendwa F (Deputy), Mr. Mutua John, Mr. Waitara G, Mr. Mututa Fred, Mr. Syengo Newton, Mr. Mwanzia Matei, Mrs. Musya, Mrs. Ngui Dorcas, Mrs. Muthui Liz, Mrs. Munyoki K, Miss Mũsyími K, Mrs. Mutemi Martha N, the late Mrs. Mbuti, Mr. Kathoka Mbuti, Mr. Thuva Keddy, Mr. Ngoro K, Mr. Musyimi Musembi, Miss Muthami N, Mrs. Mutia King’ao, Mrs. Muema (nominated MCA), Mr. Paul Ngwei, Miss Muthui (Kamene).

Other teachers who regularly taught during holiday tuition time include Mr. Ndang’uro(Ngeli), Mr. Muusya (from Ngalange and Mr. Maring'o (from Mwangea).

Political functions

The school grounds have been used as a polling station by electoral management bodies in the local community for the longest time. During the previous general elections, it was the most populous polling center with 969 registered voters. The regional political kingpin, Dr Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka casts his vote from these grounds.
The University of Nairobi

During the December holidays, a local tournament named after the EALA member of parliament Kennedy Musyoka Cup takes place in the school stadium. It is believed that the tournament is funded by the regional son, Mũvĩsĩ, in the spirit of growing and nurturing local talents.

Additionally, the field has been used as a local Airstrip whenever the space for landing choppers is not available, some are directed here. 

The Tseikuru Primary School Resource Centre 

Adjacent to the school playing field is a nice resource centre which serves various purpose within the community. Functions like wedding parties or corporate society general meetings are held here.

An international Non-Governmental Organization  World Vision sponsored the establishment of Tseikuru Primary Resource Centre. It is managed by the Tseikuru Primary administration.

Infamous moment

Back in 2006, the school was closed for almost a month as a consequence of pupils' unrest. The school fraternity complained about some bizarre occurrence whereby the girls were allegedly disturbed by evil spirits. 

The most beautiful girls in the school then fell the victim to this unrest. This instigated the pupils to torch and destroy the property of some prominent people who were suspected to be behind the disturbance.

After that temporary closure of the school, many pupils transferred from the school. The school is still recuperating from those lowest moments till date.  It has never recovered.

How to repay Tseikuru Primary School
I feel since Tseikuru has produced many talents out there, the greatest being the WDM-K Leader Dr. SKM. Let everyone who has ridden over the shoulders and the back of Dr. Kalonzo Musyoka for political positions beginning with all Ukambani governors, cabinet secretaries, senators, Members of Parliament, woman representatives and MCAs do something political for the school as well. Improving the school’s playground and other amenities to a standard level would open up the region to reasonable urban status.

We used to travel to Mwingi and Kitui towns for advanced level games due to underdeveloped social amenities. In the spirit of devolution, let the governments improve facilities and institutions like this so that they are able to host county or regional functions. 

As her school motto goes “Education is Light” let also the Political and Economic Light shine upon this institution for the benefit of the community and Kenyans at large.

If all goes well in the next General Elections, Tseikuru Primary School will be the sixth primary school nationally and first in Eastern region and Ukambani to produce a Head of State.  Would it be better by the time we welcome the next president his former elementary school looks reflects a presidential image? 

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  1. I am meant to understand Tseikuru or Syĩkurũ comes from a Kitharaka or Thagicũ name for gourd. Tseikuru hills, Kalĩma ka Syĩkurũ means a hill of Gourds. Monkeys (Nzeng’a & Makũlĩ) used to steal gourds from the nearby shambas and climb with them to the highest peaks of of the hill. Means Syĩĩma syĩ ĩkulu thus Syĩikũru in Kitharaka. With time the name would be spelt Tseikuru by the colonial masters when they introduced formal education in the region. Premature gourds are called Mongũ in Kikamba and are usually eaten. Once the mature ones harden up, some are split into half to make calabash(Nzeele) while bigger ones are converted into gourds. The gourds can be used to store water, porridge, alcohol, seeds or even mĩthea (healing portions)


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