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Parents Grapple With High Costs Of Books As Schools Reopen

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Parents grapple with high costs of books as schools reopen

Parents are feeling the pressure of having to pay school fees for the fourth time in a year.

As schools reopened today, parents said, apart from paying the required fees, some schools were demanding extra money to cater for tuition classes. Others decried the high costs of books and school uniforms.

Some said other schools had imposed extra levies on parents, citing the need to expand infrastructure to accommodate the increased number of students as a result of the 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary level.

The extra charges are channelled in special development school accounts or sent to the parent representatives, who then send the amount to the class teacher.

At Mugoiri Girls High School in Murang’a County, each parent is required to pay Sh5,200 for a new school bus project, Sh3,000 per term for extra tuition, and Sh1,500 for installation of smart screens in all classes.

In Nyeri town, Purity Karuga, who was shopping with her Form Three son, said their school had demanded an extra Sh10,000 for an infrastructure upgrade.

“It is a hard year, and that happens even as we are earning peanuts from our tea farms this year,” Ms Karuga said.

Peter Kamaru, another parent from Murang’a County, said parents have now resorted to borrowing money from shy locks who demand repayment in a month.

“I have obtained Sh40,000 at a 25 per cent interest rate to pay fees for my three children. This is punitive to the parents who have lost hope of accessing bursary from the CDF,” he said.

Jane Wanjiru said the schools have reopened, but most parents had no school fees. “We shall plead with principals to allow our children for some time.”

The Murang’a County government said it had released Sh20 million to finance 3,000 students under the Nyota Zetu Education Programme.

Governor Mwangi wa Iria said the programme is designed to help the needy access quality education.

“This is one of the programmes designed to increase the number of professionals in the county,” said Iria.

In Meru County, Margaret Nkatha, a parent from Tigania East, said they were looking forward to the reopening of the schools but they lacked financial resources.

She said the drought had hit the area affecting their main income-generating stream, khat or miraa sales.

Kairi Ituuru, the headteacher of Antuanduru Mixed Secondary School in Tigania East, said principals were grateful following the government announcement that capitation had been sent to schools.

“With most parents decrying inability to raise fees, the government resources will come in handy,” said Ituuru, who also chairs the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) in the area.

In Eldoret town, it was business as usual at books and school uniform stores as parents lined up to buy school items in preparation for the new term.

Nelly Kichwen, a parent from Ziwa in Uasin Gishu, spent the better part of the day in Eldoret town shopping for her five school-going children.

“Book prices have increased. I am buying a book that was sold at Sh500 last month at over Sh600 right now, which means I will use more money than I had budgeted for,” Kichwen said.

As for Stanley Chepkulei, a parent from Simat, the increase in fuel prices had affected the price of every commodity in the market, and parents will have to dig deeper into their pockets.

“I came to buy school uniforms and other items for my child, a student from St Teresa Tartar in West Pokot County, I paid more than I expected. We urge the government to reduce the cost of fuel,” he said.

Chepkulei said parents should ensure that they give their children enough money if they are travelling by themselves to school because there could be an increase in bus fares due to the high cost of fuel.

The parents have also asked the government to step in and provide some learning materials for pupils, especially those under the new Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).

Eunice Cherop, a parent to a Grade Five pupil, said CBC is a competitive curriculum that requires joint efforts from the parent and government.

Cherop, an Education Officer, said most parents are disadvantaged by the new curriculum.

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General News

Courts Declare Huduma Namba Invalid

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Courts declare Huduma Namba invalid

The High Court has declared Huduma Namba invalid after ruling that the law wasn’t followed in its roll-out.

Justice Jairus Ngaah ruled on Thursday, October 14, that the Government failed to conduct data impact assessment before rolling out the cards in November last year, contravening the Constitution in the process.

Law scholar Yash Pal Ghai and Katiba Institute had, in November 2020, challenged the roll-out of the cards over lack of guarantee against theft or misuse of Kenyans’ personal information.

The lobby group argued that the Government failed to subject the fresh registration of Kenyans to data protection impact assessment (DPIA), a requirement under the law.

The assessment is aimed at identifying risks that could arise due to a breach of privacy, loss of data and unlawful use of information like names, date of birth, postcode and residences.

The Government started issuing the cards in early December 2020, after stating that the current National Identification Cards would cease being valid in December this year.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the Huduma Namba mass registration on April 2, 2019.

Meanwhile, an application by Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe, the widow of the late Tanzanian media mogul, Reginald Mengi, that her late husband had no mental ability to make a valid Will, will be heard and determined.

This is after the Court of Appeal rejected legal challenges against the former Miss Tanzania’s application seeking revision of a decision of the High Court that quashed a Will that was allegedly written by Mengi, reports The Citizen.

The IPP trailblazer and philanthropist died in Dubai, UAE, in 2019. He was 75.

The Will, purportedly made in 2017, cited Ntuyabaliwe and their twin children as the beneficiary of the billionaire businessman’s wealth, estimated in 2014 by Forbes to be worth over $560 million.

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General News

Larry Madowo’s High-octane Viral Interview With Ghanaian MP

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Larry Madowo’s high-octane viral interview with Ghanaian MP

Kenyan CNN journalist Larry Madowo has been in the internet spotlight courtesy of a no-holds-barred interview with a Ghanaian MP who is pushing for an anti-LGBT+ bill.

In a session on CNN’s evening talk show, The Exchange, Madowo faced off with Sam George, the MP who sponsored the proposed bill that criminalises homosexual activities in the West African nation.

The twenty-minute interview attracted mixed reactions after Madowo took to his official Twitter handle to air his opinion on the interview.

“This is one of the most contentious interviews I’ve ever done on live TV. I asked a Ghanaian MP pushing an anti-LGBT bill why he wants to legalize hate & homophobia,” he tweeted.

The interview takes a different turn when Larry asks the legislator if he wants to “make it hard for Ghanaians to live openly and freely on the person they choose to love.”

George responds “You have not read my bill,” a response that most people used to jump to the conclusion that the journalist was ill-prepared and had not read the Bill prior to the interview.

At one point it gets personal when Madowo cuts in and dwells on everything but the content of the Bill prompting the MP to read the Bill word for word.

Below, excerpts of the interview…

Larry: We are talking about conversion therapy which is considered torture, and your Bill would legalise that. Do you want to torture people in the name of curing Homosexuality?

George:  I was making the point that individuals who decide to become transgender, apart from surgery also engage in hormonal treatment. Is that torture? Because I don’t see the difference between hormonal therapy and what you call hormonal treatment.

Larry:  They are very different. This is a very false equivalence you are making, Sir.

George: What is the difference? Make me understand.

Larry:  I am not a medical expert. But the UN experts who have looked into this consider it torture…

But what is the Ghanaian anti-LGBT+ Bill about?

When introducing the guest on his show, Madowo describes the Bill, which is set to be debated this month, as one that ‘promotes hate and homophobia’ and introduces the harshest anti-LGBT regulations.

However, George says it is a way to “promote Ghanaian family values.”

In an article by Reuters on Thursday, August 12, U.N. human rights experts warned that the bill (if passed into law) could give rise to “a system of state-sponsored discrimination and violence” against sexual minorities.

The experts then urged authorities to reject the proposed law.

The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, was introduced in parliament on August 2, 2021, and is expected to go before lawmakers for debate in October.

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