Government’s order for the immediate closure of schools effective Tuesday, August 2 to pave way for elections has elicited mixed reactions among Kenyans.
Some have termed the move as ‘disoriented’ while others, the majority were happy for the school fees relief.
In a statement dated August 1, Education CS George Magoha said the schools will remain closed until August 11, to allow for preparations and conduct of the August 9 general elections.
"Schools and parents are advised to ensure that learners from all basic education institutions proceed on their final half term effective Tuesday, August 2, and resume Thursday, August 11, 2022," Magoha said in a statement.
As soon as word was out, Magoha’s orders were received with mixed reactions as some wondered why he had to make the sudden changes.
A day before, Education CS had announced that schools would close by Saturday, August 6.
The half-term for the second term was to run up to Monday, August 15, to pave way for the polls.
Kuria Kimani, Molo MP, was among the first Kenyans to react to the orders via Twitter, terming them as untimely and confusing to parents who have kids in boarding schools.
“But honestly Prof George Magoha knew for years that elections would be held on 9/8 [sic] and schools would be used as the polling stations! The confusion his directive brings is truly uncalled for! That’s why we need government officials that are in touch with the people”. Kimani took to twitter.
Another Twitter user who also weighed in on the trending topic wondered why the CS was ambushing everyone with an unexpected directive a day after issuing a parallel announcement.
“The government acts like it didn’t know Kenyans will be heading to the polls on August 9 and now we have Magoha shifting deadlines twice in less than 24 hours. Maajbau!”. She wondered.
Veteran actor Ian Mbugua also expressed his shock by tweeting, “To be honest, I'm more looking forward to a new Education CS than I am a new president”
However, Keitan Namaswa had a different opinion on the directive. He said he will breathe a sigh of relief considering that he had been asked by the school administration of his daughter to write a commitment letter by tomorrow showcasing how he would be clearing this term's school fees balance.
“At least I have until 10th if we don’t have a repeat of the elections to plan myself. Long live Magoha!” he said.
Today’s reaction is one of the numerous occasions where the Education CS has been accused of dictatorial leadership in the ministry.
“George Magoha acts and behaves as if Ministry of Education is a personal enterprise. Does he even know some of these parents can’t afford food at the moment?”.
Schools are traditionally used as polling and tallying centers every election year although the Covid-19 pandemic caused a disruption of the school calendar leading to the realignment of the school breaks.
An earlier gazette notice by the Electoral body IEBC indicated that almost 250 schools will be used as tallying centers this year.