Protestors to gather at Uhuru Park to press government to reopen schools

Monday September 21 2015

Students return to their homes on September 19,

Students return to their homes on September 19, 2015, a day after the government ordered that all public and private schools be closed indefinitely because of the ongoing teachers' strike. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BERNARDINE MUTANU
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Activists from Nairobi will Monday take to the streets to protest the government’s decision to close schools following a strike by teachers.

The protest will mark the beginning of week-long demonstrations, said the activists, who had gathered earlier Sunday at Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner.

They chanted, “Pay our teachers, open our schools, and occupy Harambee Avenue,” to express displeasure after the Ministry of Education last Friday ordered all schools to close by Monday, September 21.

They claimed the government erred by closing schools as it went against children’s right to education as stipulated by the Constitution.

The activists from grassroots associations and organisations vowed to press on with the protests.

“We want to press the government to pay teachers instead of disobeying a court order,” said one of the activists.

WEEK OF RAGE

The protest, dubbed #WeekOfRage, could be one of the various protests against the government expected this week after the opposition Cord obtained permission from police to hold a demonstration in Nairobi on Wednesday in support of the teachers who went on strike over three weeks ago.

“A government that disobeys court orders should be disobeyed because the judicial authority is derived from the people,” read one of the placards carried by the activists, while another said, “Court ordered government to pay teachers not to close schools.”

The government has been under fire over the last few weeks after it announced it could not pay teachers because it "lacked money", with the workers' umbrella union Cotu vowing to join the teachers in the strike.

Monday’s march will start from the Tom Mboya monument on Moi Avenue and is expected to draw a large crowd given the gravity of the matter.

While chanting anti-government slogans, the activists were heard calling on all Kenyans to turn up in large numbers to show the public rage to “an insensitive government that does not consider the plight of the poor”’.