SUSAN WONG

Susan Wong is the Editor of Capital Lifestyle, a resident photographer, an award-winning journalist, radio presenter, full-time adventurer, long-time admirer of anything edible, and a spicy food athlete at Capital FM.

  • The Finance minister assertion that he does not have powers to allocate any more money in the 2012/2013 budget could be correct. But the same constitution that gaggled his powers does not bar him from proposing the same to parliament. The same Minister has failed to appear before the same parliament to articulate his predicament, yet he says he is ready to be sacrificed for the sake of 40 million Kenyans. Does the finance minister understand how many of the 40 Million Kenyans he is willing to die for are now suffering as result of the ongoing strikes which he has refused to play his constitutional role to resolve. Poor Children all over the country are loosing out on the only opportunity they have to break the vicious circle of poverty by not getting the right to education. Patients are suffering and medical situation getting worse by the day for the poor who cannot afford private health care. Minister be proactive and the strike will be resolved amicably, all the Unions are requestion for is dialogue, not body has to be sacrificed.

  • Bigood Asienwa

    Asienwa
    Bigood,

    BUNYORE.

    Dear
    Editor,

    RE: Teachers need
    “Egyptian Courage” to crack Government

    Finance
    minister Njeru Githae shot from the hip. He was as sharp as he looked sarcastic
    to the Kenyan teachers. First he promised parliament he would be meeting the Parliamentary
    Education Committee led by Hon. David Koech on Tuesday 18th
    September.

    He
    snubbed the meeting, instead he threw a salvo that the government won’t and can’t
    pay what the teachers are asking for.

    Primary,
    secondary and Tertiary institutions remain closed three weeks after the opening
    date. Class eight and Form Four candidates are the biggest casualties of the
    teachers strike. Their preparations have been adversely affected.

    When
    KNUT asks for a 300% increase of salaries for its members it is not asking for
    too much. The essence here is this; for
    a primary school teacher who earns Ksh8, 000, KNUT is asking the government to
    raise this to Ksh24, 000 which is still too low compared to the cost of living.

    Whereas
    when KUPPET asks for 100% increase for its members it is simply asking for an
    increment from Ksh26, 000 to Ksh52, 000 which is still low to the lowest paid
    graduate teacher.

    It
    is therefore illogical for Hon. Githae to say that what the teachers are asking
    for is too much.

    After
    three weeks of government defiance, the teachers strike is going to turn into a
    civil struggle between the political wealthy class and Kenyan peasants.

    The
    basic arsenal Kenyan teachers will require is courage like the one Egyptians
    gathered which enabled them to remove former president Hosni Mubarak from
    power. Historically, those in power seldom see the danger of people’s power until
    it is too late as envisaged in Romania under Nicolae Ceauşescu
    a Communist
    official who was leader of Romania from 1965 until he
    was overthrown and killed in a revolution in December 1989.

    With
    rising public sympathy and empathy and the reported discontent among sections
    of the police who have been quietly agitating for salary increases, a Parents
    Association calling for parents and
    pupils demonstrations on Friday,; these events unfolding are likely to draw the
    civil society to the streets.

    With doctors
    out of the wards, lecturers out of the lecture halls, the teachers strike is
    getting into the fourth week, the government cannot afford to wait for another
    day. This if not checked can bring down a government.

    The
    offer through media of staggered
    harmonization of teachers salaries with those of civil servants by the
    education minister Hon. Mutula Kilonzo accompanied by threats of undisclosed
    consequences against teachers who do not resume by 20th September
    are misguided. Such offers are supposed to be tabled before the negotiating
    table and not through press releases.

    My
    quick advise to president Kibaki is-the many good things he has done for Kenya
    can be wiped out by the current industrial unrest in the education and health
    sectors. Remember how Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali, Muamar Gadafi, Nicolae
    Ceauşescu,
    and even King Louis XVI who was husband to the notorious Marie Antoinette
    underestimated the consequences of public rage.

    The Kenyan crisis will turn into
    a class struggle between the filthy rich and the peasants joined by the
    overburdened and overtaxed middle class. In Kiswahili they say- Wamabenzi
    dhidi ya wasukuma rukwama i.e. the Mercedes Benz owners versus handcart pushers!

    The Prime Minister has
    strategically remained mum. I fully agree with advisers who tipped the PM Raila
    to remain grey over the current industrial unrest in the country. The teachers
    can be quickly turned into a political and Kibaki succession issue. PM Raila
    Odinga finds himself juxtaposed between wanting to play to the gallery by
    supporting teachers or joining Finance Minister Hon. Njeru Githae in talking
    tough.

    My quip to the teachers, university
    teaching and non-teaching staff and doctors is to hold on until the government
    cracks and indeed, it will.

    [email protected]

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