Friday, September 25, 2015

Cord needs to offer a viable alternative on the teachers strike not fundraisers

The Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) can only be viewed as an alternative government if it desisted from pursuing piecemeal solutions to the challenges facing the country. We laud Raila Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka for their empathy on the striking teachers but, asking Kenyans to fundraise for them isn't the best way to go.  
Where will Raila and Kalonzo hide their heads four days after their Cord coalition launched a campaign fund raiser for teachers, now that the court has suspended the strike and requested the unions to resolve the dispute in 3 months? Secondly, who will be the beneficiary to the meagre funds they have collected and, will this not provide raw fodder for jubilee critics?
Soon, the two principals will be accused of swindling (coning) Kenyans under the aegis of fundraising for striking teachers!
What Cord needed was to show us a better alternative which is the surest way to convince voters that if the coalition takes power in 2017, they will mitigate national challenges through viable and long-term remedies.  
Watching the Cord rally at Uhuru Park, I was extremely disappointed that no leader was able to propose anything tangible except threatening how they will occupy Harambee House as if this will produce money to pay teachers and restore learning in our national schools.
Launching a pay bill number to solicit for donations from Kenyans to cater for 300,000 KNUT and KUPPET members wasn’t a well thought idea. In fact, how much will they actually raise to pay teachers?
Secondly, what will Cord do if Civil Servants under the Civil servants Union and the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) downed their tools demanding more pay? Will they launch another fundraiser?
It’s worthy to remember that, we haven’t been told what happened to the Orange Relief Services launched in May and spearheaded by Governor Ali Hassan Joho. Besides, the OKOA Kenya Referendum initiative whose issues resonated well with the nation appears to have stalled.
The opposition should give Kenyans hope. Asking for donations from citizens whose majority are living from hand to mouth is not only an insult but also a desperate campaign tool.
Unless Cord wants to raise a paltry amount that can only buy a cup of tea for each striking teacher, I don’t expect the coalition to raise funds that can pay over 300000 teachers.
We want to hear concrete policy proposals to tackle the bloated wage bill and reducing income inequality which are the genesis of perennial industrial unrest, poverty, disunity and tribal disharmony in the country.
We can’t dismiss the Jubilee government’s argument that honouring the teachers pay hike as ordered by the court will overstrain the national exchequer but Cord failed to offer any solution during their rally on this catastrophic matter which has ruined learning in our schools; a tragedy in the modern information age.
The opposition should talk about issues like, corruption in the national government and Counties, how they will recover funds stashed in offshore accounts if they capture power, warning thieves who steal from the public and plough the loot back as harambees to buy political loyalty, how to net culprits involved in the mysterious disappearance of funds from the treasury and downsizing the number of elected representatives in order to reduce recurrent expenditure.
We also expected the opposition to hit at Governors who have formulated costly bureaucracies instead of applying reasonable and cost cutting measures to improve service delivery at the Counties. It’s also worrying that during Cord’s rally, no MP backed the bill proposed by ODM Secretary General, Ababu Namwamba which is intended to slash the MP’s salaries by 50 percent to raise money for teachers.
Our leaders are either unprincipled, inconsistent or suffers from selective amnesia. Why did the Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu renege on a bill he was pursuing last year whose enactment would have resulted in the reduction of the number of counties, senators and Members of the National Assembly?
Secondly, during the burial of former Juja MP George Thuo, the deputy Chief Whip in parliament Jakoyo Midiwo hinted that he will pursue a bipartisan motion in Parliament that will restructure the legislature to cut government expenditure. 
It’s high time we started questioning the consistency of the leaders we elect in order to hold them accountable for their actions.
Finally, fundraising for teachers wasn’t a well thought idea by Cord. What the country expected from the opposition on the teachers strike is workable alternatives since they purport to be a government in waiting.

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