Parliament approves nomination of Prof George Magoha as Education CS

Nominated Cabinet Secretary for Education, Prof. George Magoha during the vetting process before the National Assembly Committee on appointment at County Hall, Nairobi on Thursday 14/03/19 [Boniface Okendo/Standard]

The National Assembly has approved the nomination of Professor George Magoha, which now paves way for his appointment as Education Cabinet Secretary.

On Wednesday, the MPs while approving his appointment cautioned that the Ministry of Education has major stakeholders which must be approached with the spirit of consultations and not arrogance and high-handedness.

And now what awaits him is the implementation of the new Competency Based Curriculum (CBC), delocalization of teachers, National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) and textbook policy among others.

Those who spoke hailed praises on Magoha as a scholar, a no-nonsense and a meticulous person who handles issues with precision just as he handles his patients with precision as a top-notch neuron-surgeon.

Although the MPs approved him, Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi opposed his appointment, terming the former University Vice Chancellor as a dictator who has little regard to elected leaders.

He also opposed his appointment on grounds of militarizing national examinations charging that even after he (Magoha) assured the country that there was no cheating in last year’s exams, when results were released, at least 3000 failed to get their results on account of irregularity.

“I want to oppose the appointment of Magoha. You can have an excellent CV but that does not necessarily mean you are a good manager. He militarized exams last year in the name of stopping cheating and when results were out, 3000 students could not get their results. He contradicted himself,” said Abdullahi.

“He is arrogant as he refused to hold a meeting with leaders from North Eastern when he was chairman of Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC). He only believes in meeting people that are educated like him.”

“Not all of us have great CVs like him and not all of us went to the University of Nairobi. I want to tell even MPs that you will not be able to see him once he gets the job,” added the Mandera North MP.

Led by leader of National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi, MPs Chris Wamalawa (Kiminini), Sam Atandi (Alego Usonga), James Nyikali (Seme), Babu Owino (Embakasi East), Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Otiende Amollo (Rarieda) and Mille Odhiambo (Suba North) described Magoha as the best suited person to head the docket.

Atandi while contributing to the motion, cautioned Magoha not to use dictatorial tendencies in dealing with issues at the Education docket.

“While I support his appointment, I want to caution that he appears like a dictator and if he goes with that in the ministry, we will plunge into crisis. Education Ministry has many issues like Trade unions, civil society, students and parents. If he will not employ a consultative approach and engage stakeholder, we will have a crisis,” said Atandi.

Wamalwa said that Magoha is the best-suited candidate as he is in a position to deal with all the problems currently facing the education sector.

“I have no doubt that he is going to work with other players such as Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (KUPPET) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) for the success of new curriculum,” said Wamalwa who is also the Deputy Minority Whip.

Nyikal said that while his no-nonsense stance may sometimes be seen as arrogance, he is a very understanding as he accepts his mistakes when he is on the wrong.

Babu said that Magoha has given students a second chance in life as he will be able to deal with the high fees in public universities.

“For our girls and boys to get a quality education and grow up as God fearing students, Prof Magoha must be the Cabinet Secretary for education. This the best decision that President Kenyatta has made,” said Owino.

Ichung’wa told Magoha not to be intimidated by unions and instead work for the betterment of the education sector.

“Please you should not be intimidated by the union leaders but work for the best interest of the children of this country,” said Ichung’wa.

Magoha’s career progression began in 1988 when he was employed as a Lecturer in the Department of Surgery, at the University of Nairobi and in 1989 he was promoted to a Senior Lecturer in the same department and in 1995 was again promoted to Associate Professor, a position he served until 2000.

Magoha is now set to succeed Ambassador Amina Mohamed who was moved to the Sports docket after the then holder Rashid Echesa was sacked by President Uhuru Kenyatta in his Executive Order Number three.