NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 14 – Budget cuts should be made to monies for the Judiciary, Executive and Parliament to raise cash for the teachers’ salary increment so they can resume teaching, Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale has proposed.
Speaking in Mombasa during a leadership retreat, Duale said that is one of the options to raise money after President Uhuru Kenyatta said his government does not have the Sh17 billion required to effect the 50-60 percent pay increase awarded to teachers by the courts.
“When the President says there is no money it’s true there is no money. Let every MP donate a certain potion of CDF, then we ask the Judiciary, the Executive and the Parliamentary Service Commission and the teachers of Kenya will get Sh17 billion. If you want us to give teachers money all of us should sit together and I am sure we can raise the money,” said Duale.
He went on to dismiss calls made by a section of legislators demanding a recall of the House to debate the standoff saying the budget cycle had already been closed and unless The National Treasury said it had money to be brought to the House as a supplementary budget, recalling the House would be pointless as it would not provide any solution to the current stalemate.
“The only way Parliament can be recalled is if the Treasury CS Henry Rotich tells me today that I have the supplementary budget for teachers of Kenya,” he added.
“I don’t see the importance of recalling the House for three hours to empathise with teachers and say they must be paid then we go home, this will not save the situation.”
He was responding to calls made by Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando and his Kirinyaga Central counterpart Joseph Gitari who have written to him petitioning him to request the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi to recall the House and discuss the practical options available to end the stalemate and to also to convene the Parliamentary budget Committee, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and The ministry of Education to a harmonious consultation with the concerned teachers’ unions.
“The National Assembly which is the people’s representative cannot continue being on holiday when the country’s most treasured investment (children) are languishing at home as we quarrel and bicker,” read part of the letter.
They noted that if the matter was not addressed, the current strike would bog down service delivery in the education sector.
Duale in his address also implored the teachers unions and the Teachers Service Commission to meet and come to a consensus so that learning can resume in public schools further reminding teachers that the input of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission was mandatory as it sets the salaries and allowances of all public servants.
The Treasury CS had initially told teachers to resume work pending the determination of the dispute saying they were awaiting the completion of the job evaluation exercise being carried out by the SRC which would then determine how much teachers would receive.
He insisted that completion of this exercise would not necessarily mean public servants could earn what was proposed, as the payments would be pegged on the country’s ability to raise the required amount.
“They should be teaching as we address a review process that is structured and all encompassing; what we want is to achieve harmony and fairness as per the Constitution until that time the economy is able to support higher wages, which we will be ready to review,” said Rotich.
And despite threats by TSC to initiate disciplinary action against the teachers who have not reported to their respective schools, the teachers have maintained that until their ‘bank accounts’ reflect the changes, they will not set foot in class.