Legislators exert pressure on Magoha over alleged hubris
Irene Githinji and Mutuku Mwangangi
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha found himself on the receiving end yet again yesterday with MPs accusing him of arrogance and poor people management skills.
The MPs drawn from the National Assembly’s Education Committee accused Magoha of bullying education officials and demanded that he not only apologises for his outbursts but also treats his juniors with decorum.
In a rejoinder, Magoha reiterated that his job entailed protecting children and parents, and that he was ready to step aside if he was not meeting that goal.
“Nobody should be surprised at how I do things. I was in KNEC (official). I made things work and now I am here to protect the interest of the parents and children. I cannot do that I have no business being here,” he stated.
“It is about time that the person who appointed him reviews that decision and he should make an apology to people he has been insulting, the CS is arrogant and should change,” said Cherangany MP, Joshua Kutuny.
Kutuny also accused Magoha of poor communication, saying the fact that he runs a very critical docket requires him to give information adequately, especially with regards to resumption of learning.
The infuriated MPs at one point challenged the Health CS, Mutahi Kagwe, who had appeared before the committee to answer various questions related to Covid-19, to coach Magoha on how to deal with people.
“It is important that the CS improves on his public relations skills, he should deal with different situations with decorum,” said the committee’s chairperson, Sabina Chege said.
However, Lamu Women Representative Ruweida Obbo defended the CS saying he was justified to demand for answers from the official.
“Sometimes the people mandated to do the job on the ground fail to do so and the CS was justified to act the way he did,” said Obbo.
Kagwe however steered clear of the matter, saying he could not speak for Magoha.
“I am not defending CS Magoha in anyway but we all have different ways of working,” said Kagwe.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion also defended the CS saying Magoha had every right to be strict on his officers.
He said the CS is working to ensure the safety of all staff in schools by making education officials accountable
“Schools in the current global Covid-19 pandemic spike are exempt from lockdowns but should only operate under strict terms.
This is where Magoha as a medic is enforcing with zeal including strictly directing his officers,” Sossion said.
“This mob lynching is unreasonable, uncalled for and being blown out of proportion.
Let us see Magoha through the prism of the zeal of securing schools against Covid-19. On this I am with him 100 percent… GO GO Prof,” Sossion added.
Magoha was expected to appear before the committee to respond to issues of schools preparedness in the wake of coronavirus pandemic but was represented by his Principal Secretary, Dr Belio Kipsang.
The CS who was in Machakos supervising the desk project steered clear of the subject that has raised public outcry.
The CS insisted there is no going back in the programmed school reopening set for January next year.
Speaking at Kyemutheke primary school, Magoha said the government was very keen on ensuring all learners resume learning after nearly a year break occasioned by Covid-19 pandemic.
He said he has summoned all education stakeholders for a roundtable meeting to make deliberations on the school timetable and curriculum execution ahead of January 2021.
“As far as examination classes are concerned, I have called a meeting of all Education stakeholders on Monday next week where we shall deliberate and firm up the exact position and decide on the examination timetable and education road map for next year,” said Magoha.
The CS lauded teachers who are undertaking execution of the curriculum for examination classes that are on course saying that there was no doubt that learning was a success.
Magoha also said the government is spending a Sh8.5 billion for infrastructural development in public primary and secondary schools spread across 30 counties.