Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has dismissed the Public Service Commission’s withdrawal of his human resource powers, saying nothing will stop him from discharging his duties.
The PSC made the move after Prof Magoha was criticised and accused of being arrogant following a video clip of him reprimanding Uasin Gishu Education director, Dr Gitonga Mbaka, which went viral.
Speaking at Ayany Primary School in Kibra, Nairobi County, on Saturday, the CS said he will only stop discharging his duties if President Uhuru Kenyatta instructs him to.
“Unless otherwise directed by my appointing authority, I shall continue to perform all my duties and responsibilities with zeal and commitment and ensure all officers in the Ministry of Education perform their duties for the benefit of the Kenyan child, parents and all education stakeholders,” he said.
The CS said although he is not perfect, he recognises that for any meaningful, positive and measurable changes to take place, “things must be done differently”.
“I recognise that this process is bound to generate resistance if tangible results are to be achieved,” he said.
Prof Magoha further defended his management style, reiterating that it has proven successful over the years.
The CS said since he was appointed Education CS, he has been able to fight chronic absenteeism in the ministry, where more than 60 per cent of the employees used to report as late as 11am.
“I spearheaded the installation of CCTV and biometric devices at all entry and exit points for [monitoring entry and exit] by all ministry personnel. Though it was initially resisted, within a span of six months, cases of absenteeism reduced to almost zero, with nearly all top managers voluntarily reporting by 6.30am,” said Prof Magoha.
The PSC stripped CS Magoha of the powers to manage the human resource functions delegated to him, saying the goal is to protect public servants against undignified and unwarranted attacks.
In his place, the commission appointed the Principal Secretary for Early Learning and Basic Education, Dr Belio Kipsang, to be in charge of all human resource matters in the ministry.
“The purpose of this general letter is to inform you that in view of the recent incident in the Ministry of Education relating to the role of the Authorized Officer, the commission has, in the meantime, withdrawn the delegation of its powers and functions from the Cabinet Secretary … and delegated the said powers to the Principal Secretary … with immediate effect,” read a circular by PSC chair Stephen Kirogo.
The circular was addressed to chairpersons of public universities councils’ and copied to the Head of Public Service, Dr Joseph Kinyua.
On Saturday, however, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion defended the CS, claiming cartels are conspiring to remove him from office.
“[The] cartels [that] conspired to remove CS Amina (Mohamed) [are] the same ones conspiring to remove Magoha because of fighting corruption, taking advantage of a very minor routine confrontation with his field officer,” Mr Sossion said, without giving proof.
“The President should not buy into this nonsense,” he added.
While touring schools in Machakos and Kitui on Thursday and Friday, Prof Magoha said while he is not perfect, he will do everything within his powers to ensure public officers do their work.
Cabinet Secretaries, as chief executive officers of ministries and State departments, are designated as authorised officers exercising delegated powers and functions of the PSC in the management of the human resource function under their purview.
Prof Magoha said that having accrued considerable experience in public service in numerous capacities, he is certain the ministry’s projects will be a success under his leadership.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and the Senate condemned the CS’s action and asked him to apologise.