Mr President, hear the cry of parents

Since the beginning of the teachers’ strike five weeks ago, Kenyans have been treated to partisan and polarised exchanges between the main protagonists. In the ensuing noise and legal circus, the voice of the most important stakeholder has not been heard. This unheard voice is that of the ordinary Kenyan parent and the ordinary Kenyan child.

Today I want to speak to President Uhuru Kenyatta, not just as Senator of Homa Bay, but as a parent of a child in public school. I wish to speak on behalf of the ordinary Kenyan family that has invested all its hope in the education and prosperity of their children.

Mr President, you can win many legal battles but unless you win the confidence of the people you lead, the war is lost. On the issue of this strike, you have lost the moral war. The Kenyan parent has confirmed that you “Don’t Care, Cant Care and Wont Care” about their dreams and the sacrifices they make to secure their children a brighter future.

Mr President, when you force teachers to go back to class using threats and legal bullying tactics, do you honestly expect them to be productive? Do you believe that they will give their best to our children? Don’t you remember the saying of old, that you can take a donkey to the river but you cannot force it to drink?  Do you expect teachers to be motivated in the midst of threats? If you cared to read motivation theory, you would remember that employees are highly motivated when they are valued and recognised. I implore you to handle teachers humanely and with respect.

Mr President, who will compensate parents for the extra costs we have had to bear since this strike commenced? Assuming that each of the 14 million children has cost parents an extra Sh1,000, what that means is that we have just burnt Sh14 billion; this is enough to fund the net demands of teachers. Could you tell this nation the real economic cost of this strike? Have we been penny wise and pound foolish?

Mr President, the children of this nation have a legitimate right to education. Article 43 (1) (f) of our Constitution is very clear on this. Yet you have granted this right in a discriminatory manner, with the children of the poor having lost five weeks while the rich who can afford private academies continue to enjoy the right.

Does it not bother you that you are setting in motion an irreparable system of inequity and injustice? Are you not worried about the quality of the examinations that you have ordered to be undertaken without proper preparation and supervision?

As a Kenyan parent I am convinced that you have stopped caring about me, my children and my future.

This is why I support those who want to impeach you. This impeachment motion is not for MPs to decide; if anything many Kenyans would want to recall everyone in Parliament. It is in the court of public opinion that this matter will be decided. And this is why you need to worry and be very afraid of the next elections.

Do not listen to the theatrics of Aden Duale and his ilk. These are hard-core sycophants who will praise your sense of style even when you are naked. Forget about the bravado of tyranny of numbers; the real tyranny lies with the 288,000 teachers. It lies with the 14 million children who will never understand why this generation of leaders denied their thirst for education. It lies with the 28 million parents whose future dreams and sacrifices are being extinguished. It lies with the parents and children of North Eastern who stopped going to school a long time ago because your government has failed to contain terrorists.

Mr President, please stop using legalese to intimidate teachers and to confuse Kenyans. Please work hard to bake a big cake so that this country can have enough to feed on and carry out maendeleo. Please unite us and inspire us to greatness.

We want schools reopened, but we also want motivated teachers in class. This is not asking too much of a legally elected President of the Democratic Republic of Kenya.