Kenyan celebrated musician Julius Owino aka Juliani in the popular song Sheria by Sarabi Band has this verse where he says, things are so bad to the point that when something good happens we’re amazed. True to that Education CS Matiangi broke the internet yesterday after releasing this year’s KCPE that was near perfect. Kenyans on social media were so amazed that a minister was actually working as expected that the hash tag #IfMatiangiwaspresident trended for the better part of the day.
Exactly one year ago when CS Matiangi took over the ministry of Education, the Kenya National Examination Council’s (KNEC) credibility had been hurt so badly that the discussion wasn’t about whether there was cheating in exams but rather the integrity of the exams themselves. A total of 2,709 candidates cheated in last year’s (2015) Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE); up from 1,702 the previous year (2014). But under CS Matiangi’s leadership the number has come down to a mere 21 which is impressive by any standards hence the excitement.
The CS has asked Kenyans to trust him and his team to deliver on Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE), and going by the KCPE performance there’s little reason to doubt him. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of other institutions with higher stakes. Take Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for instance. The electoral agency messed with their credibility long before they could begin the election process in 2013 after they bungled the procurement of election material and appear to have learnt nothing since.
What makes the release of the KCPE results so relieving and exciting is the fact that reshuffling of the CS Matiangi from ICT to Education was to deal precisely with the increasing cases of cheating. And he did exactly that. This proves we are capable of rectifying our past mistakes if there’s political will and the leadership mettle to handle the heat that comes with such challenges.
The country is tittering at the brinks of another likely post-election violence over sharp disagreement between the government and the opposition over the manner in which IEBC is going about its procurement process. This is quite reminiscent of the events that led up to the 2013 elections that saw EACC recommend nearly three years later that, the then CEO James Oswago be prosecuted over the Chickengate saga.