Even as Members of Parliament received a petition seeking to remove of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i from office, Kenyans across the country can be heard lamenting and complaining about the boisterous and often arrogant CS.
Matiang’i is today accused of habitually violating the constitution and regularly acting in contempt of court orders, and is therefore deemed unsuitable to hold a public office. Yet he remains the substantive CS for Interior even after completely messing up the education sector.
Looking at his past, CS Matiang’i has grown to develop a fearsome reputation which has falsely led the public to believe that he is an efficient, daring and hard working public servant. Because of his forceful nature, he managed to cut a niche for himself in the Jubilee base as a no-nonsense, uncompromising minister who has implemented wide ranging reforms in the education sectors. Hopes are however fading if Matiang’i can replicate those reforms in the interior dockets.
As Matiang’i was celebrated by Jubilee supporters as an indefatigable and foremost defender of the president in the wake of the discredited 2017 presidential polls, hundreds of thousands of students were feeling the ripple effects of his kneeler orders and reforms in the education sector.
After enacting impractical reforms in the education sector and leaving the entire system in shambles, Matiang’i went on to lead the fierce crackdown on opposition leaders after the disputed elections and following Raila Odinga’s unprecedented swearing in at Uhuru Park on January 30th.
His abrasive style rubbed teachers union the hard way and his name attracts passionate hostility and annoyance especially in the teaching fraternity and the ODM restless bases.
Many analysts having critically observed Matiangi’s public service records now hold the view that the interior cabinet secretary is a liability to good governance and needs to be replaced at the earliest.
The effects of Matiang’i bulldozer policies were best seen in the 2017 KCSE appaling performance. A staggering 87.79 per cent of the candidates — 540,428 students — scored between grade C and E and only 70,073, about 11 per cent, qualified to join university. In 15 of Kenya’s 47 counties, not a single student made the top 100 candidates in the exam.
This was a culmination of Matiang’i two year reign of terror as education CS, where he implemented various policies in the education sector with little degree of success especially in areas such as curbing exam cheating, ensuring 100 per cent transition from primary to secondary schools, cracking the whip on fraudulent issuing of university degrees and pushing for curriculum reforms.
Matiang’i’s plan to roll out a new education curriculum in January 2018 has also not gone down well with most stakeholders who have cast aspersions on the probability of success of the new system, with teachers union, parents association and education experts all sharply criticizing the proposed transition.
The proposed new education curriculum – 2-6-6-3 – has been outrightly dismissed by KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion who termed as a “disaster in the making”.
Not to forget, during his last days in charge of the Education docket, perhaps as a final windfal for education cartels, CS Matiang’i implemented a new textbook policy that saw the Government spend a whoppiny Sh7.6 billion on purchasing the books, which have since been found to be full of glaring errors resulting to teachers abandoning them.
As matters stand now, education analysts estimate that it may take another three to five years to sort out the mess and confusion brought upon the education system by Matiang’i, all at the expense of hundreds of thousands of young Kenyan students.