Prof George Magoha’s nomination as Education Cabinet Secretary was long overdue, teachers in Mt Kenya have said following the announcement by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The President’s executive order on Friday morning put Mr Magoha in charge of the ministry previously headed by Amina Mohamed. She took over in the Sports ministry from Mr Rashid Echesa, who was fired.
Members of the Mt Kenya Teachers’ Forum later urged Parliament to approve Prof Magoha’s nomination, saying teachers believe he will be zealous.
Forum spokesperson, Mr Ndung’u Wangenye, said the Education Ministry needs a firm and authoritative Cabinet secretary, such as Mr Magoha.
“Since the President’s re-election, we have all along been expecting Prof Magoha to be elevated from Knec chairmanship to the Cabinet. When he worked with CS Fred Matiang’i in fighting exam cheating, the education sector found integrity,” said Mr Ndung’u Wangenye, who is also the Executive Secretary of the Laikipia County branch of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).
The group said it expects Mr Magoha, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Nairobi, to wipe out cartels.
Mr Wangenye alleged the existence of one at Jogoo House, which he said was micro-managing the funding of school development projects.
“We urge Prof Magoha, once approved, to start by fighting the corruption cartels in the procurement of textbooks for public schools by the Ministry of Education,” he said.
“Mr Magoha is competent and tough. He has a history of transforming institutions.”
Prof Magoha’s nomination was on the backdrop of an investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission into a multi-billion shilling racket involving the supply and procurement of textbooks for public schools.
In February, investigations by the Nation found that some schools had been supplied with almost double the number of textbooks they needed, in virtually all subjects.
The purchase of textbooks by the government started early 2018 after Mr Matiang’i, then the Education minister, decided it would facilitate the direct distribution of textbooks to schools.
The move was aimed at reducing procurement costs.