KUPPET Fires Back At Magoha Over Teachers’ Engagement In Politics
Bomet Central MP Ronald Tonui has accused Magoha of denying teachers their freedom and right to actively participate in the next election.
The directive, according to the MP, amounts to double standards because there are Cabinet Secretaries who have openly taken sides and campaigned for specific candidates.
Tonui, who is also the national vice treasurer of the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education, spoke to the Star over the phone on Monday.
He stated that teachers, as registered voters, have every right to declare their support for a candidate of their choice and should not be restricted solely because they are civil servants.
“It is a shame that Cabinet Secretaries are actively engaging in partisan politics but the minister is denying others their rights to freedom of speech.
Teachers, he claims, shape community opinion and should therefore actively participate in the upcoming general election.
“Let teachers align themselves with political sides, where they feel their interests are catered for,” he said.
The KUPPET official, on the other hand, stated that unions must remain neutral because their membership is diverse.
Magoha recently warned teachers in Kisii against engaging in open political debates or attending political events at the expense of their official duties.
His Interior counterpart, Fred Matiang’i, issued a similar stern warning to police officers, stating that they must always maintain neutrality.
Matiang’i, like other Cabinet secretaries such as Joe Mucheru (ICT) and Peter Munya (Agriculture), has never shied away from aligning himself with specific political camps.
Teachers, according to Tonui, are among those running for various elective positions.
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It would be irresponsible, he said, to deny the other members the opportunity to openly display their affiliations.
“Teachers who have decided to exercise their democratic right by contesting in the upcoming election must be lauded. It is one way of proving that they have the ability to lead,” Tonui said.