By Steve Muthini
Secondary School teachers in Machakos are among professionals who have expressed support for former State House Chief of Staff, Nzioka Waita, to be the next governor of Machakos County.
The teachers led by the Kenya Union of Post Primary School Teachers (KUPPET) Executive Secretary, Musembi Katuku, on Saturday attended a high profile event at Machakos School grounds where they made a pitch for Waita’s candidature, outlining the reasons why he was the best pick for the top county job.
“The reason we are here today is to endorse the candidature of Nzioka Waita. This time we are giving our people direction. We need professionals in the management of the affairs of our county.
We are developing an MoU with the incoming Governor to see how we are going to partner in the education sector,” said Katuku.
He said that the current County government under Dr. Alfred Mutua has disregarded their input and are not available for consultation on education matters, adding that the Governor has been sending junior officers to represent him in the County Education Board.
The KUPPET Secretary said teachers have not seen the representation of the County government in co-curriculum activities.
He said the County government which is supposed to manage Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) by building classes and employing teachers had neglected its role.
“ECDE teachers are not paid regularly. Bursaries to students in secondary schools and tertiary institutions are issued but we do not know how they are distributed.
“We said this time that we will be involved in deciding who the next CEO of the County will be,” said Mr. Katuku.
He observed that the transition rate for students from the county to Universities had declined in the recent past, adding there was need for concerted efforts to be put in place to address the worrying trends.
Mr. Katuku said the influence of teachers in the coming election cannot be overlooked.
“15,000 members can influence the vote. We can whisper to the parents and you will be home and dry,” Katuku assured the aspirant.
Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General, Mr. Francis Atwoli, also supported Waita’s bid through a phone call to the gathering which was put on loud speaker.
Atwoli told the gathering that Waita is a polished leader and the people will have themselves to blame if they fail to elect him.
“I, Francis Atwoli, would like to have a learned Governor who is a manager and not a politician. Mr Waita is a learned man and a manager. If you do not elect him, you will have been unwise,” said Atwoli.
He said he was going to marshal the COTU membership in the County to support Waita.
Waita, who addressed the gathering of 6000 Chama Cha Uzalendo Party delegates together with his running-mate, Florence Mwangangi, received a standing ovation for his impassioned speech which moved the audience as it outlined the unmet expectations of the people.
“After devolution, each county was to receive and manage its own resources. The tragedy which we must confront today is that after ten years of devolution and after more than 120 billion has been received, Machakos County is still not working,” said Waita.
Both Nzioka Waita and his running-mate, Speaker Florence Mwangangi, are lawyers by profession.