Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 167
1 January - 7 January, 2018


Curriculum reform should tackle integration as a challenge for our time

Some clever person once said a country that mistreats its children will reap their wrath in future. Considering we stood on the edge of the cliff and gazed at the abyss below following a very competitive poll; that statement seems very appropriate. In the deadly Post-election violence (PEV) of 2008 it was our young people who the demons chose to possess.

It’s for these reasons that we must take the debate on curriculum reforms very seriously. We need to produce young people whose minds are not so idle that demons congregate for a weekly workshop. Otherwise replacing a failed system with another one that hardly deals with the challenges of our time will only lead to a terrible outcome.

In the recently released KCSE results 545,700 students failed to make the cut for university entry. The President in his New Year message advised them to join the technical training colleges. The President’s message was meant to encourage especially after reports of children feeling hopeless and others committing suicide.

However, if analyzed further, that advice, subtly reveals the problem with our education system. What the stakeholders miss in their consultative forums about our system is the capitalistic nature of our education. Which sadly, even the much publicized education reforms does not identify, let alone tackle.

The vision of the new curriculum that is being rolled is, a desire to see an engaged, empowered and ethical citizen. This are good ideals yet impractical if we insist on curving ‘pathways’ for children while we have institutionalized failure by virtue of which institution of higher learning one attends.

It’s very possible that there are ‘A’ or ‘B’ students whose only interest is to work as a Plumber or Carpenter-building and fixing things but we’ve since relegated such jobs to school drop-outs that everyone wants a Bachelor degree-even those that can’t properly challenge themselves to be useful citizens after graduation.

This is why the debate on the new curriculum should’ve also figured how to change attitudes in children as they learn along the way to realize the goal for life is not acquiring a university degree. But this won’t happen if we see technical colleges as secondary to bachelor degrees. Developed countries like the US and Germany as critics of the new curriculum keep pointing out, know this only too well and some of the top students fight for a place in technical colleges because it’s not seen as the other option-in the event you don’t make the cut for university entry.

If the 8.4.4 system was to bring about self-reliance the new curriculum in many ways appears to completely claw back such gains if at all. Meaning we are likely to have a generation of kids who can only do certain things courtesy of their ‘gifts’ or ‘potential’. This is what 8.4.4 was expected to cure, how then are we going back without exhaustive consultations?

News of the Week

Opposition MPs absence will not hinder vetting of Cabinet Secretaries

National Assembly Speaker, Justine Muturi said the vetting of names sent to Parliament for Cabinet Secretary positions will not be derailed by NASA MP’s decision to abscond the sessions. The opposition coalition refused to name members to the House Committee charged with vetting the nominees on grounds that they did not recognize President Uhuru’s legitimacy. Minority Leader John Mbadi while explaining their disinterest in the exercise claimed they do not consider the Presidency to be functionally occupied. The Speaker said legally the committee was in place and only waiting for the names to be sent. He also assured that the Standing Orders do not speak of political parties but quorum. To that effect the committee has quorum to conduct business.

Betting firm blackmailing government?

Members of Parliament have accused leading betting firm, SportPesa of blackmailing government after the gaming platform announced they were cancelling all local sports sponsorship following the 35% tax on all revenue slapped on all betting firms. The move has affected key sections of sports in the country with Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards reported to be pulling out of the continental championships. T

he MPs led by Majority Leader, Aden Duale have accused SportPesa of attempting to arm-twist the government in an effort to prevent them from paying the much needed taxes from the billions they’re collecting. He said Kenya is among countries with lowest gambling tax rate whereas others like Germany for instance were charging up to 90%. His Jubilee counterpart Irungu Kang’ata questioned how SportPesa had money to sponsor clubs in the English Premier League but were pulling from local sponsorship.


Supreme Court to rule on CDF

The Institute for Social Accountability (TISA) and Centre for Enhancing Democracy and Good Governance now want the Supreme Court to rule on the CDF law which they argue is unconstitutional. They disagreed with the Court of Appeal ruling that while the law offended the principle of separation of powers, it did not interfere with the autonomy of the county government. The two organisations however argue that it not only offends the principle of separation of powers, but also that of public finance, division of revenue. High Court had ruled the CDF Act illegal and suspended the law for a year to allow Parliament to align it with the Constitution.


Uhuru names all man nominees to cabinet; 13 more posts remaining

President Uhuru Kenyatta read out names of those he nominated to continue serving in the cabinet and not a single one of them was a woman. However, the President still has 13 other posts to fill and is likely to nominate a number of women to achieve gender parity. Also of political interest is the nomination of the former DPP, Keriako Tobiko who resigned to join the Executive.

Others also nominated include: former Turkana Senator, John Munyes; former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani. Those retained include: Najib Balala (Tourism), Fred Matiangi (Interior; also acting Education), Henry Rotich (Treasury), James Macharia (Transport), Charles Keter (Energy) and Joseph Mucheru (ICT). The President hinted that the decision to drop some names in his final term will come down hard on individuals who are abusing the system for personal gain.


Quote of the Week

"God knows my heart and my convictions and in the fullness of time, when the Cabinet is fully named, people will be ashamed,"

Quote by Senate Speaker, Kenneth Lusaka responding to The Star newspaper on claims he influenced Cabinet nominees that saw Water CS Eugiene Wamalwa dropped on January 10, 2018


Lest we forget

"..If you are promoted you also come back here for vetting. This is because within the period you are a Principal Secretary or Cabinet Secretary, you could have committed grave economic crimes."

Sentiments by National Assembly Majority Leader Hon. Aden Duale when debating the motion on the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, 2011 on December 1, 2015.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Kitutu Chache South MP, Richard Onyonka made headlines this week after leading a host of seven other MPs from Kisii in denouncing the planned swearing-in of NASA leader, Raila Amolo Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka as his deputy. NASA coalition has set the date for taking oath as the People’s President on 30th of January. However in another statement the MP who was elected on a Ford Kenya ticket explained that President Uhuru took oath of office in accordance to the constitution and was bestowed the instruments of power; as such he remains the legitimate President but insisted he said he had no problems with his party leader and the coalition NASA from swearing in the former Prime Minister if they so wished.


Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved.

Mzalendo Trust, Heinrich Boll Foundation,
Prof. Wangari Mathai Road.
P. O. Box 21765 00505 Nairobi, Kenya

Please share your thoughts with us:

Unsubscribe from this list.   update subscription preferences