‘Don’t allow power to get into your head’ – Nyeri MP castigates Education CS over public universities funding
Nyeri Town Member of Parliament Duncan Mathenge has castigated Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu following his remarks on Saturday that the government will stop funding public universities.
Mathenge cautioned CS Machogu 'not to allow power to get into his head', saying the same people he plans to withdraw funds from are the same people who enabled him to get the cabinet position by voting in the Kenya Kwanza government.
"I want to tell CS Machogu that those in public universities are hustlers, and all those from well-off families are in private universities. The same hustlers are the ones who voted overwhelmingly for President William Ruto and it is through them he got himself a job. He should not allow power to get into his head," he said.
Terming Machogu's comments as shocking, Mathenge said the CS, having served as a public officer in various posts, is in a better position to understand the needs of a common man.
"I'm utterly shocked by his remarks because having served as a DO in Nyeri and DC in Nyandarua in the past, he is in a better position to understand the needs of the common mwananchi better," Mathenge added.
"It is unfortunate that just a few days after his appointment he has started to oppress the same people who enabled him get the power," he added.
He cautioned all the Cabinet Secretaries against oppressing 'wanjiku' but instead focus towards improving their livelihoods.
He also called for the reinstatement of the National Government Constituency Development Fund, saying many needy students, who rely on the funds, are suffering.
The legislator said that at the moment many students are unable to continue with their studies owing to lack of school fees paid through the fund.
"As we talk we have many projects that have stalled while students are at home. We need this fund urgently so that the burden of providing these needs goes back to NGCDF. This is because projects were not in the budget of schools which rely on the payment of fees," he said
He cited Gachika Secondary School in his constituency where over 700 students have their form four certificates withheld by the institution due to fee arrears.
Machogu under fire
Machogu came under heavy criticism over the weekend after the declaration that experts say has far-reaching effects on the fate of State funding of public universities.
Speaking at the Dedan Kimathi University in Nyeri county on Saturday, November 5, Machogu said that universities should seek alternative means of raising revenue to solve the current cash-crunch affecting many institutions of higher learning.
"I am going to move around each and every university in Kenya, because our universities are faced with problems particularly finance you get them complaining about funding,
"We are encouraging that they must generate their own revenue because the ex-checker as it is now is not going to be able to continue funding more because in Kenya education takes 25.9 per cent so we have to find other ways of creating and generating revenue for universities and they have to look at other revenue schemes," he stated.
Public universities are currently facing a financial crisis and collectively owe government agencies and pension schemes about Kshh56.1 billion as of June 30, 2022.
According to Universities Fund CEO Geoffrey Monari, this includes monies owed to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), pension schemes, part-time lecturers, Saccos, National Hospital Insurance Funds (NHIF), National Social Security Fund (NSSF), and loan deductions among others.
"Currently, our universities are facing a profound financial crisis. The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic still lingers," said Monari, during a media workshop on Friday, October 28.
Similarly, he said that the 100 per cent transition for students attaining C+ (plus) and above has increased access to universities, amidst financial strain.