Stay put, MPs tell Matiang'i in wake of school fires - Daily Nation

Cartels fighting Matiang’i behind arson in schools, MPs say

Monday August 1 2016

A firefighter tries to extinguish a fire at Kwale High School on July 29, 2016. Fire razed a dormitory at Koimbi Boys High School in Kiharu constituency, Murang'a County on May 21, 2017. PHOTO | FAROUK MWABEGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A firefighter tries to extinguish a fire at Kwale High School on July 29, 2016. Fire razed a dormitory at Koimbi Boys High School in Kiharu constituency, Murang'a County on May 21, 2017. PHOTO | FAROUK MWABEGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ELGAR MACHUKA
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By RUTH MBULA
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Politicians have come to the defence of Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, saying corrupt cartels in the education sector are responsible for arson in schools.

Speaking separately, MPs Moses Kuria (Gatundu South), Richard Tong’i (Nyaribari Chache) and Patrick Ntuntu (Narok West) said blame games cannot end the spate of arson in schools.

Mr Kuria and Mr Tong’i, who were at a church fundraiser in Kisii County, accused examination cartels of viciously fighting back reforms at the Education ministry.

They said cartels suffocated by rules initiated by Dr Matiang’i were fighting back with a vengeance in their push to have the CS sacked.

"We cannot sit down and watch a few individuals spoil the future of our sons and daughters," said the Gatundu South MP.

He said Dr Matiang'i is among the best-performing executives in the Jubilee administration and should be given support.

Mr Tong’i, for his part, congratulated the CS on his efforts to clean the education sector of rot.

"He has fought tooth and nail to keep the Education ministry strong amidst a lot of criticism. Let him not waver from his efforts for we are with him on this,” said Mr Tong’i.

The lawmakers called on detectives to zero in on the examination cartels and investigate them for possible collusion in the school fires being reported every day across the country.

'THIRD HAND' IN ARSON

Mr Tong’i said there was a third hand in the incidents and asked the government to undertake an extensive probe to determine the key causes of the unrest.

Kisii Woman Representative Mary Otara urged the Education ministry to go slow on interdicting teachers of schools dogged by fire cases.

“There should be no blanket condemnation of the headteachers. There is no principal with a right mind that can instigate the burning of an enterprise he has nurtured from scratch,” she said.

In Narok County, Narok West MP Patrick Ntuntu, who was speaking at Shartuka, said sober discussions should be held to find solutions to the unrest.

“I urge that we look at this issue soberly lest we forgo an opportunity that could generate solutions that will help spur development in the education sector,” said the legislator.

He urged Dr Matiang’i to reach out to other stakeholders in efforts to tackle the raging fires.

Mr Ntutu cited bad parenting among a host of other factors causing unrest in schools.

“Even as we blame others for these incidents let parents ask themselves if they are undertaking their roles properly,” he said, adding that many parents had little time to talk with their children.

The government has rejected calls by teachers’ unions to close schools early.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy President William Ruto said the government would not back off from reforming education.