This is war: must have been the general consensus amongst the teachers around the country when they decided last week to take most drastic action that would push and press a government of elaborate promises and silver tongues into a tight corner and into submission and finally giving in to a 15 year old demand that has so far been delicately pushed aside or swept into the grave yard of forgotten promises.

So the public school teachers did what all Kenyans do when they are not heard; down their chalk and step away from both blackboard and class room to take to the streets shouting and singing their displeasure for all to see, thus creating a crisis for the standard 8 and 4th Form candidates who under normal circumstances would be preparing for these crucial exams. On their list of demands is a 300% salary hike.
The teachers union have chosen mass action and disobedience of a court order to return to work while turning a stone deaf ear to a tough talking government- who continue to use the same old scare tactics hoping for a different result- threatening to fire the errant teachers and hire new ones in their place- no new teachers in their right minds will sign on the dotted line to get peanuts for teaching a –more often than not-over flowing class room. Thus the teachers calls that the fairly new - highly accustomed to hot water- Education minister Mutula Kilonzo ’Must Go!’

The government cannot say they weren’t sufficiently warned when the over worked and severely underpaid teachers last resorted to picketing for their much forgotten rights and got nothing but empty promises for their trouble they issues the government with a warning they would have been wise to heed. The tired teachers gave the powers that be fair warning that if ever their demands were not met  they would once again take to the streets- at least some people know how to keep their promises!
It is no secret that our government officials love nothing more than to give themselves what they view as a well deserved pat on the back once every so often and that they do so by increasing their own salaries but when the financial going gets tough and it is time for them to fulfil their long forgotten promises they more often than not use the go to excuse: ‘The government just doesn’t have the money at this time’. Leaving those who work and dutifully pay their taxes suffering and languishing with peanuts in their near empty pockets.

Making this urgent and most worrisome matter is that this unlike any year is an election one prompting many to question not only it’s ill timing but whether this mass action could be politically motivate, whatever the answer to that question is there is no doubt that politicians will use this as an opportunity to not only make more promises but some may even use the countries striking history as a mini platform to garner more votes.
In this sticky situation not only the teachers suffer but the candidate as well who is now forced to prepare and revise alone and what’s more with the recent cancellation and tough ban on holiday tuition the weaker students will suffer more this exam season.
Teachers are the building blocks upon which young minds blossom and bloom, good teachers are exponentially powerful to any child they teach. It is time that the government treat these overworked builders of society with the respect they deserve.


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