Teachers have mourned the late President Mwai Kibaki, praising his role in implementing higher pay rises for the tutors.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) said they will remember Kibaki as a champion of teachers’ affairs.
Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori said Kibaki gave a lifeline to the union that had been stifled under the previous regime.
“Kuppet, which had been suppressed for years under the KANU regime, earned its respectable position during the Kibaki era,” said Misori.
He said Kuppet fraternity is saddened by the news of President Kibaki’s death. “Kenya’s third President was an extraordinarily gifted intellectual, statesman and transformational leader whose legacy will live with us for years to come,” said Misori.
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Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu eulogised Kibaki as a darling of teachers.
“He will be remembered for implementing in totality, the teachers' 1997 pay deal that was signed during the late president Daniel Moi’s regime. This deal was the turning point in the lives of Kenyan teachers,” said Oyuu.
He further said that it was during Kibaki’s tenure that Free Primary Education and subsidised day secondary education were introduced and implemented.
“This improved accessibility and affordability of education fulfilling the requirement of Sustainable Development Goals on education,” said Oyuu.
Misori said: “As teachers, we will forever remember President Kibaki’s love for education. Along with the expanded access to education, his administration implemented far-reaching reforms in school management and addressed the working conditions for teachers.”
Misori further said that Kibaki was among the first generation of highly educated Africans in the colonial era.
“Upon obtaining his post-graduate qualifications on the eve of Kenya’s independence, he moved into public service, where he would serve for the rest of his life – rising from the bureaucracy to the highest political office in the land,” said Misori.
He said that as a civil servant, government minister and president, Kibaki made sterling contributions to Kenya’s development.
Misori said Kibaki’s vision was for a sovereign, self-reliant nation in which all citizens had a fair chance to realise their potential.
“His economic revival after the 2003 General elections came with an unprecedented expansion of educational opportunities for Kenyans through the free primary education, the opening of dozens of new public universities, tax reforms and eventually the promulgation of the universally-hailed new Constitution that ushered in the era of devolved government.”
He said under Kibaki's tenure, the government created legal mechanisms for stakeholder participation in education policy-making.