During his first public appearance after he was appointed minister for education, Hon. Mutula Kilonzo thanked the president for his new post and predicted his stay at the Ministry of Education to be similar with a fish’s stay in the aquarium.
Amidst ear-breaking applause, jubilation and standing ovations from teachers, parents, pupils and other education stakeholders who had flocked the Moi stadium in Voi Town for the district’s education day, Mutula vowed to bring major reforms in the country’s education sector.
Maybe we misunderstood what kind of reforms he was talking about.
Parents and teachers who applauded the legislator are now sniping and curling their backs in abject horror of the unknown whenever his name is mentioned.
Two of his major decisions have hit the limelight and watered down the throat of many Kenyans the wrong way.
His endorsement for shorter skirts and longer school holidays was not what many parents had in mind when they heard the man talk of reforms.
I have nothing against Hon. Mutula Kilonzo; in fact I think he is one of the best legislators who ever set foot in the August House. His stint in the ministry has also not been all shambles (God knows the Education Bill and TSC Bill which he propagated through parliament were much overdue and called for.)
His is just a case in point of why we need to move fast to fully implement the new constitution that provides for the National Assembly’s thorough vetting of cabinet secretaries before they assume office.
And in as much as the new constitution does not explicitly state that cabinet secretaries should possess academic qualifications correlated to their dockets, the 14th august house has a moral obligation to the people of this nation to ensure that successfully vetted secretaries possess academic qualifications and background relevant to the docket they will be manning.
This will put an end to days when the president appointed ministers with limited background knowledge in their respective ministries, and who like Hon. Mutula, end up making unpopular decisions that raise the ire of the affected and make them the laughingstock of others or where the president allotted or reassigned ministerial flags in order to fulfill some ulterior purpose.
The latter is what befell Hon. Mutula Kilonzo, who in snippets of conversations with the media, has severally attributed his transfer from the Ministry of Justice and constitutional affairs as an egocentric move by leaders who wanted him out of the justice and constitutional affairs office so that they could effectively mutilate the new constitution to their advantage.
The honorable minister, whose prior prediction has degenerated to what many Kenyans would liken to a whale’s frantic efforts to fit in an aquarium, should therefore not be blamed for his controversial decisions, and irked parents should find somewhere else to vent their frustrations, precisely the colonialist method of ministerial appointment that is being practiced to date albeit of the new constitution’s provision for the parliamentarians vetting of cabinet ministers.
Luckily enough, Kenyans have so long to persevere for this colonialist mode of operating the ministries.
Optimism that the next government will bring in the much needed changes reigns supreme in every Kenyan’s heart. Up until then, however, all we can do is hope that the ministers manning ministries which they have no background knowledge about do not make any more ridiculous decisions.