Government is unconvincing in its story that it can’t pay teachers

31 Aug 2015 | by
Government is unconvincing in its story that it can’t pay teachers

Many who were of age, during the 90s remember the teachers strikes, which demanded better pay after there salaries had hardly been adjusted since the 80s even though inflation had skyrocketed......................

Many who were of age, during the 90s remember the teachers strikes, which demanded better pay after there salaries had hardly been adjusted since the 80s even though inflation had skyrocketed . It was the role fiery Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General, Ambrose Adeya Adongo.  To make a deal that would secure the future of teachers, in 1997 the deal was with President Daniel Moi at Statehouse Nairobi , however as fate would have it Adongo died in 2001 more than a decade later he must be is clapping in his grave after the historic ruling this  August 2015 that saw the teachers pay increment upheld . 


The ruling will go down in history as one of the most epic test of judicial sovereignty.  As it seeks to compel the executive which in the past has been the de facto supreme arm of government that had a tradition of impunity as it  manipulated the other arms of government . The Supreme Court ruled in support of the increase of teachers salaries a ruling that had been passed by lower court upholding the legal notice No. 534 of 1997 that detailed higher housing ,medical and commuter allowances for teachers . 


The governments position communicated through the labour secretary Kazungu Kambi rejecting the demands of KNUT by stating that they were unreasonable as the present day government was not party to the 1997 deal . He represent the same government that a few months back supported the President in the payment of the Anglo leasing transaction when Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta lamented that the government has exhausted all judicial options to forestall payment and has to honour a deal made by Mwai kibaki's government to pay 1.5 billion shillings even though he felt that the deal was fraudulent but payment was made regardless as a deal done by a previous government and upheld by a London court ruling had to be honoured,furthermore it would lead to loss of funding from international financiers. If the government was seen to default on debt,  Hence the key facts were that the deals made by previous governments are binding , that court rulings must be binding and most importantly it's to honour its word as failure to do so could have long term consequences .


Both The Government of Kenya and the opposition seem to have not been genuine when it came to dealing with the teachers issue either of them included how they would raise money to pay for the increase in teachers salaries in their respective manifestos even though both had been aware of commitments made by previous governments more than a decade before .  This sort of irresponsible behaviour manifests it's over and over the latest being the fact that they did nothing to develop the sugar industry even though they had been given over 20 years to make Kenyan sugar competitive . 


The government will argue that it has no choice but to borrow in the short term and increase taxes in the longterm to meet the new demands placed on it by the wage hike. When the more prudent thing to do would be to reduce excess luxuries of senior civil servants, scrap unnecessary purchases by central government , stop the rampant corruption , maybe if they paid a bit more attention to the Auditor Generals report and considered alternative ways to build school and fund other education infrastructure and supply.  Think more on how the ,parents ,NYS , the prisoners can play a greater role in building infrastructure  


Solving these issues is no small thing but we did not choose leaders because we thought it was easy but because it is hard.  We need our government more than ever to come up with new innovative ways to tackle our growing challenges .In resent times the government has been blindly walking down a rocky path. Our debt to GDP ration is unhealthy.  When government legal contracts seize to be sacrosanct and we can only depend on the good will of a sitting government it reduces the bagging power of future governments with other stakeholders (trade unions ) within the country.

in a way the the supreme court safeguarded the integrity of the executive .Whatever the government decides to do it should not consider raising taxes or borrowing to meet the teachers wage rise.

The trend of high borrowing, high taxes , the bailing out of parastatals without requiring perpetrators of this economic crimes to be held accountable or making promises that the government can't afford now or can't afford over time , such short term implicit, opec polices are a time bomb . 


If you strip down the fundamentals that's how the country has been rundown over the past decade and a half . This story has only two endings austerity or sovereign default we have been there before in the 90s when the country had massive public debt and was financed through arrears (unpaid supplies and salaries ) Mr President stand firm and save Kenya, "accept and move on' as per your message to CORD following the Supreme Court ruling in 2013, it will benefit us all.@bright991 


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