NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 25 – Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai failed to appear before a parliamentary committee over the transfer of the non-local teachers in the northern part of Kenya on Tuesday, forcing legislators to abort the session.
The two instead sent in their representatives despite summons which indicated that they were required individually.
Teachers Service Commission Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nancy Macharia was the only one who appeared in person before the Education Committee as had been directed by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi who ordered that the trio should provide a ministerial explanation on why teachers were withdrawn from Wajir, Mandera and Garissa.
The three officials had been summoned last week by the committee through Speaker Muturi to answer to questions from MPs on the parameters used to effect the massive transfers of the teachers in the volatile northern part of Kenya that is often the target of Al Shabaab.
Magoha had dispatched his Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang with Mutyambai sending in his deputy Njoroge Mbugua, a move that irked the MPs who accused them of violating Speaker Muturi’s orders.
In an apology letter read out to the MPs, the committee Chairman Julius Melly (Tinderet) notified the members that CS Magoha had pleaded to be away citing other engagements.
Bomachoge Borabu MP Abel Ogutu raised the objection on the constitutionality of the session noting that it would be unwise to proceed without the presence of the two interested persons, CS Magoha and IG Mutyambai who were required to be part of the session in person.
“The Speaker was very clear on the matter that the interested people should appear in person. It would therefore be wrong to proceed with this meeting,” he protested.
Samburu East MP Jackson Lentoi backed the sentiments and argued that giving a green light on the meeting would risk having a half-baked session where the officials present would give unsatisfactory answers.
“With Magoha and Mutyambai absent and judging by previous sessions, it is evident that the officials present will tell us that they first have to consult with their supervisors prior to giving their responses. This would be just a waste of time,” he said.
Wajir East MP Ahmed Kolosh who had petitioned the House to have the matter deliberated noted that the matter required a multi-sectoral approach and proceeding with the meeting without the required people would be inflicting a great injustice to the teachers and students in the north.
“It would be unfair to have the session proceed. This matter requires the presence of CS Magoha and the IG and in fact they should be told to appear before us as soon as today (Tuesday) afternoon,” he said.
In his submission before the House last week, Kolosh had lamented that the move by the government had immensely affected the quality of education in the region.
He termed the move unconstitutional insisting that it was the prerogative of the government to provide security to the teachers and not transfer them instead in what he described as a temporary solution.
During the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally in Garissa on Sunday, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga assured residents that President Uhuru Kenyatta was committed to have permanent solution on the matter.
“It is painful for children to go to classrooms where there are no teachers. We must find a solution to this,” the former premier said.
Fresh summons were set to be issued to the two government officials later Tuesday.