Friday, August 17, 2012

Kenyans are not cowed by laws unless pushed to the wall

City land rates (Jiokoe Sasa!!)

Many Kenyans for years have not been paying land rates and ignored that law assuming that it is there only on paper. Nairobi City Council’s requests to City dwellers to pay land rates for their plots/lands have fallen on deaf ears. I believe only a few people paid when buying land to get their title deeds processed, but after owning the land payments stopped.

Many must have ignored paying the rates because of poor management of City Hall for many years. In the 80s City Council was doing a good job the City was clean. Things changed when population of the City increased rapidly increasing demand for services. Instead of things getting better greed took over, that is when there were many ghost workers on City Hall’s payroll, senior staff employing their friends and relatives resulting in unqualified staff. In the process they were loosing a lot of money through corruption and stealing. Workers would strike every now and then because of salary arrears.

Therefore in that confused organization, laws could not be implemented and who was going to waste their time and money to pay rates to such an organization. However with transition of power and political changes, City Hall has improved in so many ways but still Kenyans did not heed the call to pay rates until we were given a deadline and told our properties will be sold, that’s when we rushed to pay rates. Its not that City Hall is perfect now but at least things have changed and we expect to see more now that they are getting good money.

School holiday tuition ban

When President Kibaki reshuffled the cabinet and moved Hon Mutula Kilonzo from Ministry of Justice to Ministry of Education, to me that was a demotion. Being a prominent lawyer was former President Moi’s lawyer for years it was an awkward appointment. But now he is always in the news enjoying his work in this Ministry, he does exciting jigs with students when they entertain their visitors.

However his public utterances on this crucial Ministry, is not going down well with Kenyans. The day he visited a girls’ school and supported their request to wear shorter skirts and should not dress like nuns, he annoyed Kenyans who attacked him for saying schoolgirls should wear mini skirts. The Catholic Church also did not spare him for mentioning nuns. He later said he was misquoted this is what all politicians say because they rarely think before they talk.

On the other hand he is receiving some support now from many parents who have been burdened by school fees, when he banned holiday tuition, but as I said Kenyans are not cowed unless pushed. Only public schools obeyed because “he warned that the Teachers Service Commission would discipline any school head or teacher who will contravene the directive” (from the Standard). For private schools it is business as usual because he did not push them like he did with public schools. This has not gone down well with teachers in public schools and parents with children in those schools, especially those preparing for final exams. While their children are at home, those in private schools are learning and revising. As usual when results will be out, private schools will be in the top list. If the Government issues a ban it should apply to all.

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