Those opposing the transfers of school principals will be arrested and prosecuted, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i has warned.

There has been uproar by members of the public and politicians following the transfers of 557 head teachers by the Teachers Service Commission.

In Makueni, six MCAs were arrested on Thursday for blocking a new principal’s access to her office at St Joseph’s Girls’ High School on Thursday.

In Bungoma, leaders have said they will set aside politics and protect the schools they worked hard to build. One of these leaders is NASA principal, Senator and Ford Kenya boss Moses Wetang’ula.

But at a press conference on Friday, Matiang’i, who is now doubling up as acting Education CS, said Kenya is ending the “mentality of people acting as their own bosses”.

“A Kenyan has been elected a senator in Australia yet a primitive person is busy telling newly-transferred principals to go back to their regions,” he said.

“We have to function as a whole. Anybody thinking we will change … you are mistaken. You can throw tantrums however you want but we will not change. We must govern ourselves in a good manner.”

On January 4, Matiang’i told off those opposed to the transfers of principals saying their actions reflected barbarism. The CS said one of the reasons Kenya is yet to achieve national integration is the notion that people must work in their home areas.

The minister said the MCAs must face a magistrate who will determine their fate.

“We have had this backward behaviour for long,” he noted. “If today MCAs tell us who will be principal, then tomorrow they will choose their commissioners. It will not happen and they need to understand this.”

He continued: “All public servants, wherever you are … you have to serve anywhere in this country. How primitive do we want to be? We will not accept this behavior. How can you organise people to eject teachers from a school?”

Matiang’i said a time has come for people to embrace the modern world and end retrogressive actions.

“Time is here for us to live the modern way… ejecting a principal is not freedom. We will not change the situation. We want to move ahead with the policy … that is how the country will be integrated.”

The CS further noted that some principals do not want to be moved because of accruing debt and corruption.

“In some schools where audits were done, principals have debts of Sh62 million, money that they use and hide,” he said.

“The principals want to remain [in their schools] to perpetuate corruption. We must clean out the road, whatever it will take. Not everything will be popular … we are not here to be popular … let us focus on what must be done.”

The minister said anybody with a complaint should use the right channels.

“We have a responsibility. If they want to discuss things, the TSC is here. When you have a complaint, go to the commissioners and discuss them.”