MPs press Magoha over withheld certificate
Members of Parliament yesterday pressed Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha to order secondary school heads to release students’ academic certificates withheld over fees arrears.
The MPs said thousands of candidates are unable to apply for employment without the document, with many others resorting to unskilled jobs to eke out a living.
But Prof Magoha told the National Assembly Education Committee that only needy cases would be considered, adding that the rest should pay up or be listed with Credit Reference Bureaus (CRBs).
Magoha said many owners of the held certificates were capable of paying off their arrears. Some, he noted, were business people and prominent members of society.
“If you are a teacher and you have never gone back to pay your fees arrears, then you should be reported to the CRB and get blacklisted.
“We shall find a way of identifying the needy cases so that schools can release the certificates. But there is a sizeable number that can pay,” Magoha said.
Secondary school heads yesterday said that institutions are owed over Sh20 billion by former students.
MPs heard that schools were weighed down by huge debts. “Many suppliers are not paid because schools are broke due to the many arrears. Schools need the balances yet students have left. This must be addressed even if it means waiving the arrears,” said Kilome MP Thaddeus Nzambia.
Matayos MP Geoffrey Odanga told Magoha that Education officials were being dishonest on the matter.
“They are not telling you the truth. There are many certificates held in schools, with some dating back to the 1970s. Their owners have no use for them and will never pay,” Mr Odanga said.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia already issued a directive to all school heads to release the certificates.
“TSC county directors are further directed to forward to the commission headquarters reports on compliance by March 7,” Mrs Macharia said in a circular to TSC county directors and heads of primary and secondary schools.
But months after the directive was issued, schools are yet to release the certificates.
Emuhaya MP Omboko Milemba asked Magoha to consider paying the bills owed to schools, citing a recent meeting with Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) members who opposed the TSC directive.
“We met Kessha leaders and they said they will not release the certificates until payments are done. How will you protect poor parents who are unable to collect the papers?” said Mr Milemba, who is also the chairman of the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers.
Nominated MP Wilson Sossion, who is the Secretary General of the Kenya National Union of Teachers, called for the suspension of the policy that allows school heads to withhold certificates. He also questioned how the ministry would be able to differentiate between needy cases and those who could pay.
“How will you know parents who can pay fees and those who cannot pay? It is a tall order. Go back and protect schools because paying fees is an obligation,” said Mr Sossion.
Deputy President William Ruto has in the past ordered schools to release the certificates.
Only 2,000 Guests For Mashujaa Day Fete Due To Covid-19 Threat, Says Kibicho
Only 2,000 guests will be allowed to attend this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations on October 20 at the Wang’uru Stadium in Mwea, Kirinyaga County.
Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho said the number has been reduced from 15,000 to 2,000 due to Covid-19 threat.
Speaking at General Kassam Stadium in Kianyaga in Gichugu Constituency during a leaders’ meeting, Kibicho said President Uhuru Kenyatta will be the guest of honour during the celebration to be attended by other heads of state and dignitaries.
On September 14, Kirinyaga leaders held their first meeting at Kutus Sifa Garden and agreed to shelve their differences for the success of the fete.
“During our first meeting at Kutus, we brought together former and elected leaders and updated them on development undertaken by the national government,” Roads PS Paul Maringa said.
Kibicho said leaders will continue with meetings before and after Mashujaa Day celebrations for unity purposes.
“We will continue this meeting and inspect State development initiated by the president,” Woman Rep Purity Wangui said.
Kibicho also denied that the government is financing a businessman who is convening the peace meetings, saying that the government cannot give monies to private individuals for such endeavours.
Kenya Set To Attend 76th UN General Assembly
Kenya is set to attend the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in October this year, where it will showcase its progress towards achieving a sustainable development goal in line with the 2030 Agenda.
Kenya’s delegation to the high level session led by the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Raychelle Omamo, will focus on the Big 4 Agenda and particularly, on matters that touch on energy, food systems, climate change, global governance and oceans, progress made towards the sustainable development goals and regional peace and security.
On climate change, Amb. Omamo announced that Kenya which is known for its leadership role in addressing climate challenges increased her Nationally Determined Contributions from 30 per cent to 32 per cent and advocating for clean energy with focus on clean cooking and transformative agriculture for sustainable future.
“I am convinced that global support in terms of climate financing is paramount for the country to achieve her targets by the year 2025,” said Omamo.
The CS made the remarks while briefing Diplomatic Corps and the media on various International engagements by Kenya during its Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in the month of October at a Nairobi hotel.
She pointed that Kenya’s membership in the UN Security Council of the African Union Peace and Security Council and Kenya’s Presidency of the Organisation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific States has illustrated the country’s expanding influence on the international stage.
Amb. Omamo disclosed that Kenya will preside over the affairs of the UN Security Council, and will use the opportunity to pursue mutually beneficial outcomes as well as advance good neighbourliness and Pan Africanist ideals on regional peace and security, peace support operations, counter terrorism and violent extremism and climate security.
The CS at the same time announced that the high level dialogue on energy scheduled for September 24 this year organised by the United Nations Secretary General will offer Kenya together with other energy global theme partners from China, the European Union, Japan, Malawi, Netherlands, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia an opportunity to host a thematic event on clean cooking.
She announced that a high level in- person ministerial briefing on the Great Lakes Region scheduled for October 20 this year at the UN Security Council Chambers in New York will seek to address sustainable solutions to the root causes and drivers of conflict.
“Countries of the Great Lake Region continue to be afflicted by many security challenges, however, in recent years, countries in Great Lakes Region have made commendable progress in addressing the root causes and drivers of conflict,” stressed the CS.
She said the progress can be attested by the peaceful transfers of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, the signing and implementation of peace agreements in the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan and the normalising of bilateral relations between Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.
The High-Level Ministerial briefing is also expected to provide an opportunity for the Security Council to renew its commitment to the region, and to support the implementation of the priority projects aimed at promoting a shared vision of regional, peace, security and socio-economic development and strengthening cooperation in addressing the drivers of conflict and instability.
The Ministerial open debate will also share insights on investing in women peacekeepers, peace builders, and their networks to accelerate the implementation of the women, peace and security agenda to ensure sustainable peace outcomes during and post peace operation and mission transition settings.
During her remarks, the CS also thanked development partners for supporting Kenya and the entire region over the years, and in particular, this time of Covid-19 pandemic by donating Covid-19 vaccines, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is also expected to convene the second high level event for Heads of State and Government High Level debate on October 28, 2021 on cooperation between the UN and the Regional and Sub Regional Organisations with specific reference to the African Union.
Kenya’s Presidency in the 76th session which will have several events including those of Heads of States will seek beneficial alliances that reaffirm a rule based multilateral system that addresses global challenges in a manner that attracts consensus.
The country will also use the opportunity to reinforce Kenya’s multilateral credentials in the global arena.