Fear grips St Anthony’s Kitale as Nabungolo returns to haunt them

Cosmas Nabungolo speaking in a past event at St Anthony's Boys. He is back in the neighbourhood to renew old rivalries in sports and academics.

Fear has gripped the revered St Anthony’s Boys Kitale after Cosmas Nabungolo, their former iconic principal, was transferred to head St Joseph’s Kitale, their neighbours and archrivals in both academics and sports.

The fear is about dominance. Popularly known as the Solidarity Boys, they have been dominating the local and national charts in sports, and more specifically soccer.

As the Ministry of Education (MoE) reversed the delocalization policy, which had pushed Nabungolo to St Peters’ Mumias in Kakamega, he landed in St Joseph’s to send shivers down the spines of those who are familiar with his golden touch on everything he interacts with.

Nabungolo is one of seven Chief Principals in the county with a population of about 2,700 secondary school teachers, over 240 schools and about 400,000 students scattered around the five sub-counties.

According to the MoE, Cherangany Sub-county has the highest number of schools standing at 74, followed by Kiminini, which has 56, Trans Nzoia West 44, Kwanza 47, and Endebess 22. There are 12 private secondary schools, the popular ones being Green Fields, Weaver Bird and Manor House.

The other Chief Principals are Rosemary Orwaro of St Joseph’s Girls, Grace Ataro of St Monica Girls, Invioletta Lokorito of St Brigid’s Girls, Justus Ngang’au of Kipkeikei Boys, Rose Pande of Kitale School, and Dr Judith Ngome of Bwake Girls.

Senior Principals include Geoffrey Murunga of Goseta Boys, John Mukongolo of Bwake Boys, Simon Masibo of St Anthony’s, and Martin Masika of Makutano School, who came recently from Nandi County.

Thomas Biwott was moved from Kericho County to head Suwerwa Boys.

These principals have been hotly contesting for dominance in both national exams and sports.

In the 2023 KCSE, the county had a combined mean score of 5.5 per cent, and in sports, Endebess Sub-county, though with few schools, emerged top in the county.

Within the education circles, Nabo, as Nabungolo is fondly referred to, is described as the chess master who has empowered students to even cross borders to ply their trade in the UK, US and Australia.

Now that he is back in the county, St Anthony’s Solidarity Boys face stiff competition in football from St Joseph’s and Goseta. No longer will they take it on a silver platter.

St Anthony’s Masibo, who most pundits thought was a non-starter, has worked hard to maintain the status in both academics and sports, where they are no pushovers in soccer and hockey. According to parents, the new head is completing programmes in time.

Orwaro of St Josephs’ Girls has produced results in hockey, football, volleyball and basketball.  Through her stewardship, she has expanded facilities greatly to motivate an enlarged participation.

Lokorito of St Brigid’s Girls is basking in the limelight as the East Africa champions in basketball, while Mukongolo of Bwake Boys with a mean grade of eight in last year’s KCSE has surpassed records to register over 600 Form 1 students for 2024. This is gigantic pool from which champions can emerge.

Murunga of Goseta Boys is seen as flamboyant and eager to wake up the ‘sleeping giant’. After heading several schools in Trans Nzoia, Uasin Ngishu and recently in West Pokot, the man is tasked with immediate issues such as addressing the water problem and expansion of infrastructure.

For Kabuyefwe Boys, the principal Protus Wanjala is famed for injecting high discipline in students who were almost ruined by drug abuse, instituting rapport among stakeholders and completing the syllabus on time.

Wanjala’s story is the same as for the likes of  Daniel Chebukati of Kibomet Mixed, Emmanuel Mokaya of Kesogon Mixed,  John Nandi of Kwanza Friends, Eve Tsuma of Bikeke Girls, Bernard Masinde of Sirende Friends’, and Cornelius Mukwana of St Emmanuel Mixed.

Things, however, are difficult for St Monica’s Ataro whom the sponsor the Catholic Church expected it to compete alongside St Joseph’s and St Brigid’s to no avail.

Julius Mibei of Anderson Mixed boasts of running the only volleyball training centre in the county and as the East Africa giants.

On this backdrop, sports contests this year are promising to be explosive, and it will be interesting to see who will rule especially in the most popular sport globally – football. Every fan is waiting with bated breath.


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Education News - Newspaper Vol 281