Dr Fred Okeng’o Matiangi, the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Education,Science and Technology is biting more than he can chew.The governance and program implementation expert, who was formerly the Cabinet Secretary Ministry for Information, Communication and Technology, has a penchant for introducing rules and regulations that are prejudicious to the target subjects.
In July 2015,when he was at the helm of the ICT Ministry he drafted a proposal of 11 regulations which had provisions that empowered the CA to automatically declare a telecoms operator with more than 50 per cent market share dominant, which would have thence subjected Safaricom to a restrictive marketing and pricing business environment.
He had forwarded the proposal to Parliament without the input of the Office of The Attorney General, which contravened the laid down law-making procedure. As per the agreed procedure for the preparation of legislation or of the CAK (Competition Authority of Kenya), the expert body in matters relating to competition under the Competition Act ),the counsel of the State Law Office was mandatory. He had also not subjected them to discussions in all aspects as contemplated by the MoU between CA and CAK.
Safaricom in its battle with the CA, had argued that subjecting restrictive dominance laws on the telecoms operator without proving abuse rubbishes the tenets of competition law and international best practice.
He came under fire from the Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai, The CAK Director General Wan’gombe Kariuki, Safaricom Boss Bob Collymore who felt the CA Director General Fred Wangusi ,Dr Matiangi and their teams had sneaked in ‘controversial’ Fair Competition and Equality of Treatment Regulations which did not envision market research as a basis to ascertain dominance and abuse of Safaricom which controlled 67% of the Kenyan Telecom Market.
In his usual polemical style, In May 2016 he again introduced new regulations to curb the menace of exam cheating.
He banned all social activities that happen in third term including visiting days, mid-term breaks, sports, prize giving ceremonies, annual parents’ days, KCSE and KCPE prayer days among others.According to him this will cut contact between students and outsiders who might provide examination leakages to the candidates.He also shortened the period for the KCSE examinations from 6 to 4 weeks. Those sitting for KCPE this year will start on 1 November and finish on the 3rd of November, while form four candidates will start on November 7 and finish on November 30.
Principals and head teachers will now be in charge of the examinations in their schools. This is to ensure that they prevent irregularities and take full control of their own schools. In case any cheating occurs,heads of schools will work concurrently with supervisors and invigilators who will be vetted by Teacher Service Commission to ensure they do not have any criminal records.
To accommodate these changes, the second term which was initially scheduled to end on 5th August has been extended to end on 12 August. Consequently, the August holiday has been shortened from 4 to 2 weeks. Third term will last only for 9 weeks from the previous 12week; beginning from 29 August and ending on 28 October.
He has also now locked out motivational speakers from learning institutions. He has revoked all letters of motivational speakers and as a result they are not welcome in the schools. It was alleged that some motivational speakers and preachers were radicalizing learners under the guise of motivational talk. It was also directed that they were not going to tolerate actors who perform various set book plays in schools to ensure school going children are not corrupted or fed with the wrong information.
These contentious regulations have put him on the spot. A section of religious leaders,KNUT and KUPPET Senior Officials, Legislators and other stake holders in the education sector rubbished them noting that they had been issued without proper consultation and they are a tad bit infeasible.
Could Dr Matiang’i be shooting himself in the foot?