All parents through time in memorial have wanted all that is best for their kids, for their little ones to have a far better life than they did. Part of that dream is for their child to get a good education firstly with Nursery school then on through Primary school and finally (hopefully) the school experience will end with a High school education four long years of it! When this is done the plan –for some and the wish for most all mothers is that their child has found their niche, that thing that fulfils their lives or at least makes them happier and gives them a sense of purpose.
A higher education has become paramount in today’s fast changing world, everyone wants the certificates, diplomas, degrees, masters and –eventually – PHD’s that will either get their feet in the door at their dream job or in some cases get them that long awaited promotion. Everyone had to have it; there seemed no other way around the job market.
For some reason or other it seemed -on Wednesday night that- as our parliamentarians took on another long into the night session that they had forgotten the importance of this much struggled for higher education that they attempted to –rather unsuccessfully – chop and change the rules that govern Kenya by amending the constitution- which says that candidates should hold post-secondary school qualifications- and lowering the educational ceiling (to a Secondary school certificate) so as to allow their sub-par colleagues to retain their positions of power, this would make just about anyone eligible for a seat on the chairs in parliament including myself!
What resulted was a rather loud national outcry in disgust for what was seen an act of selfishness so loud were both the internal and external displeasure that they were forced to hastily amend their amendment on Thursday which does not include the amendment to allow party members to party-hop-the practice of defecting from one party to another -up until two months prior to a general election which has stuck. The Law Society though is having none of it as they through Chairman Eric Mutua have vowed to contest the ‘illegality’ in court, saying that: ‘The MPs have demonstrated that they cannot be trusted to safeguard the aspirations of our constitution especially where they have vested interests.’ The rebuke from inside the house was also fast in coming and just as harsh as Martha Karua the MP for Gichugu Constituency who stated: ‘The changes we have made tonight will open a floodgate for party hopping and political promiscuity. It is a great shame that shortly after passing the new constitution and the Political Parties Act, we MPs are saying, allow us as the rest of Kenya obeys the constitution, to misbehave just a little, not to be faithful to the parties through which we have come to parliament.’
Fear and Panic:
Fear and panic must have been the feelings that the 80 MPs currently without degrees must have felt when the amendment was amended and it must have been raised a few notches when they were told that the law was to take immediate effect. The knowledge that they would not only miss out on the power that comes with their posts but also the salary hike as dictated by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission which will be based on not only on a higher education qualification but also work-load but also their responsibilities. A university degree now= a higher pay grade, if they don’t have one they will inevitably lose big. It is perhaps this fearful equation that may lead some MPs to seek not so real papers so as to avoid being dumped out in the cold when the time comes to head to the Ballot box and choose Counsellors, Senators, Governors, and Deputy President, VP and the President. The easy ride they had hoped for is now vanishing into the quick sand that is the law. With nominations a mere five months away those on the wrong side of the education divide accused their fellow MPs of having ‘ulterior motives’ and vowed to fight the ‘unlawful’ amendment in court.
With this master stroke members of Parliament have all in one fell swoop been held to the same exacting academic standards as the average Kenyan child who went to school and studied hard then pursued their calling in university then (hopefully) secured a job that not only paid well but was their calling, thus fulfilling the dreams of the generation that preceded them.