Senators want action against ‘arrogant’ minister Magoha

Monday, November 16th, 2020 00:00 |
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha.

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

The woes facing embattled Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha intensified yesterday after Senators asked the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission to take action against him in line with the Public Officer Ethics Act.

Lawmakers also want President Uhuru Kenyatta to take action, including but not limited to suspension and sacking Magoha, for publicly insulting a senior education official.

Their demands come days after the Public Service Commission stripped the CS of powers to conduct human resource functions at his ministry, a move, he said will not stop him from discharging his duties.

The development also comes days after Magoha was criticised and accused of being arrogant following a video clip of him reprimanding and howling insults at an education official in Uasin Gishu.

In the video, the CS, who was on a visit to  various schools on November 6, to assess learning and delivery of desks, is recorded interrogating Uasin Gishu Director of Education Mr Gitonga Mbaka, concerning alleged untidiness of a school the CS was visiting.

The CS, seemingly unimpressed by the response of the official, hurled insults at Mr Mbaka, and is recorded saying in Kiswahili, and I quote, “Nikisema wewe ni mjinga, ni uwongo?” taken to loosely mean (If I said you are foolish would I be lying?),” Magoha said, before asking the senior staff to walk away from the meeting.

Led by Senate Majority Leader Samuel Poghisio, Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina his Nominated counterparts Naomi Shiyonga, Getrude Musuruve and Abshiro Halake said such kind of conduct by the CS, or, indeed, anyone in leadership is unflattering, and should be condemned in the strongest way possible.

“The CS  should be the last person to set a bad example to the public, including  to millions of children in our education sector where he has been given the privilege to lead,” Shiyonga noted.

“If indeed the CS had issues to raise with the concerned official, there are channels and procedures that he ought to follow instead of insulting his juniors,” she added.

Concerned official

On his part, Senator Poghisio opined that Magoha’s sentiments were unacceptable and breach of the  African culture. 

“It is not good to shout at someone whose children and family are around. It  demeans them,” Poghisio said.

Though Magoha has recorded impressive performance in institutions he has worked, including successfully running a university, the examination council, Poghisio held that the CS must apologise to teachers and entire country.

 “We demand that he apologises to teachers and the country. I also get angered, but I cannot disrespect people who have also been given an opportunity to work by the same Government,” Poghisio, the West Pokot Senator said.

Ole Kina on the other hand  noted the CS should be reprimanded as the Public Officer Ethics Act binds him.

“I wish to remind him that the Act, which he subscribes to and signed to abide by, prohibits that kind of unprofessionalism.

It is about time public officers, including us, realised that we serve those offices by the will of God and privilege,”

“We do not come to Parliament to pass legislation for certain individuals to cherry pick what to respect and what not to respect. These laws are important and mandatory for all of us,” he added.

Public Officer Ethics Act states that a public officer shall carry out his mandate  in a way that maintains public confidence in the integrity of his office.

Halake has on the her side criticised Education CS for running around the country, going to every school, to abuse junior officers because he considers himself more powerful.

“Why would a sitting CS go and start running in classrooms. I have seen the CS actually do that in very many little corners of this country. That is a recipe for conflict,”

 Musuruve has termed Magoha’s utterances as demeaning the teaching profession saying that he should apologise to the teachers’ fraternity.

According to her, if he does not apologize, then he will set  bad precedence where a CS or any other State official can decide to just arrogate powers to himself and decide to do what he wants.

“This is a wrong precedence. The CS needs to apologise publicly to teachers. His actions are unacceptable,” she said.

She continued: “He should appear before the Senate, explain himself and apologise to Kenyans.

Being in that position does not mean he is better than others. It is God’s favor. When God favors you, it does not mean that you step on others.” 

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