Education crisis occasioned by the transfer of all non-local teachers dominated the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally at Garissa primary school with local leader calling for total control of Teachers Service Commission (TSC) by ministry of education.
ODM leader Raila Odinga said that he will be meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta next week to find an acceptable solution to the crisis where the local leaders have accused the teachers’ employer for unilaterally removing the teachers in a haste and without consulting.
The issue has become so emotive with some leaders from the region suggesting that no non-local teacher should be listed for interviews accusing them for using the region to get employment only to ‘abandon them midway’.
They want TSC CEO Nancy Macharia held personally responsible for the transfers and the crisis her decision has cost the education sector.
Raila hinted at taking into consideration the leaders’ proposal to have affirmative action plan to have D+ and C- as entry points for locals willing to join primary and secondary teaching colleges respectively.
The ODM leader reiterated that BBI is unstoppable noting that they came together with President Uhuru Kenyatta to address unemployment, insecurity, tribalism, corruption as well electoral fraud.
“We decided to come together and see where our problem started so that we bring solutions to what is ailing our country,” Raila said.
Nominated MP and Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion said North Eastern education crisis will only be solved through affirmative action accusing TSC of frustrated the plan.
“We cannot be talking of quality when there is no access of education, children who were trained under affirmative action must be redeployed to solve education problem in the region,” Sosion said.
Leaders across political divide yesterday rooted for the pure parliamentary system and powerful prime minister noting that it will ‘end electoral chaos as witnessed in the past general polls’.
Former deputy speaker Farah Maalim said the region should not be left behind in the BBI discourse.
“We now have the chance just like 2010 constitution making process to have our voice heard,” Farah said.
He said countries that adopted the parliamentary system have recorded high level of stability and tranquility.
Local political rivalry also came to fore with supporters of former Governor Nathif Jama who was present and incumbent Ali Korane shouting down on their rivals.
Leaders including Mandera Governor Ali Roba were forced to step forward to plead with the charged crowd ‘not to embarrass their leaders’ in front of the guests.
In the recommendations read out by Mandera governor Ali Roba, the residents want the County Policing Authority fully established and be managed by counties. Each county to establish its own county police service. They want the Government to invest in Counter-radicalization measures in the national government and enhance corporation between the two levels of government in counter terrorism measures.
The County Action Plan according to the residents should be directly funded by the National government for all the Northern counties so as to protect the nation against terror and radicalization.
The region that has borne the brunt of Al-Shabaab attacks since 2011 has been grappling with how best to deal with the rag tag militia that has been changing tact for the past nine years.
On education, the residents recommended that Infrastructure development for schools, both Primary and secondary, as well as Teacher Management be devolved.
On land, resident recommended that the Government should register all community land and ensure that community land registration takes place before any large scale compulsory acquisition of land takes place.
They also want any prospecting and exploitation of resources on, under and above the surface of any community or public land be carried out in cooperation with county governments and communities that have customary ownership of the land.
They want the term limits for Governors be removed and allow for voters to decide by popular vote.
They are also recommended that all counties should be connected to the National Electricity Grid to provide level playing field for growth and development. In North Eastern it is only Garissa which is connected to the national grid.
The residents recommended that the National Government should provide an Economic Stimulus fund for the key growth sectors like Livestock, Agriculture, Climate Change, Infrastructure, Natural Resources development, transport, and cottage industries among others to create employment growth, social well-being and Equity in the North.
They also recommended that all existing electoral seats (47 counties, 290 constituencies and 1,450 wards) remain as they are currently.
On historical injustices they want the Government to undertake full implementation of the Truth Justice and Reconciliation commission (TJRC) and Ndung’u Report.
They also recommended that National Government fast tracks and completes all on-going infrastructural developments projects including the construction of the Isiolo- Mandera 740 kms road that they described as the single most important life transforming investment that they noted can end the complaints of marginalization and bring down cost of living in the region and connect it to rest of Kenya.
Livestock being the economic main stay of the region, they recommended the national Government establishes a holding ground/livestock disease free zone to act as export quality control center at the Port of Lamu.
The five-page document was later handed over to ODM party leader Raila Odinga who has been leading the popularization campaign rallies countrywide.
Raila promised the residents from North Eastern that their recommendations will be well captured in the final document with a view of ensuring that the region, just like any other part of the country received their fair share of resources and also brought with the rest of the country in terms of development.
By Jacob Songok