In a press statement, opposition CORD has suggested government take up some of the measures listed below to avail money for teachers:
1. The Auditor General in his latest report disclosed that a number of ministries are not spending most of the monies allocated to them. This could be a result of lack of capacity, lack of functions or that the ministries have more money than they need. The auditor specifically identified the ministries of Devolution, agriculture, ICT, Infrastructure and Education. Money should be recalled from these ministries and pumped into paying teachers. We have said before that the Ministry of Devolution clearly has more money than it needs. We can get Ksh10 billion from the ministry of Devolutionâ€™s over-priced NYS projects.
2. The National Government needs to immediately look into its security budget with a view to scheming off funds and channeling it to teachersâ€™ salaries. Certain purchases like cars in the security ministry and other ministries need to be immediately suspended to free up money. Even more critical, the security docket is sitting on billions of shillings for essential expenditures meant for emergencies like war. The Sh17 billion required to pay teachers does not amount to even one per cent of the money sitting in the security ministry for so called essential purchases.
3. This security money is kept in savings accounts where it attracts very high interests every year. The interest from this money alone is enough to pay the teachers at one go. This is the money that at some stage will be ferried away in gunny bags to finance Jubilee elections as happened in 2013. The education of Kenyan children is more important than Jubilee retention of power.
4. The National Intelligence Service is sitting on billions of money that is never accounted for and whose use is never disclosed. Some of this money must be freed up and used to pay teachers.
5. There is money always set aside for IFMIS upgrade every year. This year, about Sh4 billion is allocated for this upgrade. It can pay teachers. If upgrading software is going to cost billions every year, we might as well stop it.
6. The Jubilee regime must put aside its failed laptops project and use the money to pay teachers. The Ksh17 billion which has been rolled over every year must immediately be used to pay teachers instead of this failed flagship project. Putting money into laptops when teachers are on strike does not sound like great thinking.
7. The Teachers Service Commission itself needs to review the pay structure of its board with a view to releasing money to pay teachers. A clerk at the TSC board, for instance, earns about Ksh35, 000. A P1 teacher, on the other hand, earns about Ksh21, 000. It can’t be fair.
8. Finally, we are aware that there is always some money floating in government for expenditures like by elections. For instance, had the County Government of Makueni been suspended, money would have been made available for by elections. That money needs to be made available to pay teachers.
9. These are just but a few of the steps Jubilee should embark on to pay the teachers. Jubilee could easily raise more money by living within its means. So many Kenyans are cutting back even on basic necessities. The government too must cut back. The government must display a lifestyle consistent with the financial crisis it claims to be in. The government must cut all unnecessary trips abroad and on which tax payer money is being wasted, with nothing to show for it. All monies need to be mopped up from low priority areas and directed to payment of teachers.
10. Millions are being spent almost daily on local trips that include ferrying supporters of top politicians to functions. Billions are equally being spent on trips and delegations abroad. These cannot be priority engagements at this moment. We note that the President has never uttered a word on this matter of teachers even as he proceeded to open exhibitions abroad and probably watch Formula One in Italy.
11. The children of Kenya must not spend one more week out of school.
12. In the meantime, we stand in solidarity with KNUT and COTU and we declare our intention to join in the protest marches in support of the teachers.