CORD launches teachers’ salary kitty

CORD launches teachers’ salary kitty

Coalition for Democracy and Reforms (CORD) leader Raila Odinga has launched a kitty to enable the public contribute money to cater for teachers salaries.

Speaking during a CORD rally at Uhuru Park in Nairobi, Raila said he has given a personal contribution of Ksh100,000 and urged Kenyans to contribute.

The CORD leader said the public can contribute to the fund through mobile money transfer services.

Raila, who is also the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), also pointed out that the government wage bill had been bloated by ghost workers and redundant roles in both the national and county governments, saying proper structuring is needed to save public coffer.

He accused the government for failing to pay teachers in line with the Employment and Labour Relations court ruling made in June this year awarding them a 50 to 60 per cent increment and instead taking them through protracted court battles.

“Our teachers have demanded a day’s pay for a day’s work. Our courts have agreed that they deserve it, they must have it,” said Raila Odinga.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta has said he can’t pay, won’t pay making our children find themselves at home and not at school as it tradition.”

The ODM party leader accused President Kenyatta of dishonesty in his apparent refusal to pay teachers saying the government has enough revenue collection to sustain teachers’ salary demands.

“In 2012/13, the last year of the grand coalition government, our tax revenue was Sh807 billion, in the last financial year it was Sh1.16 trillion and it is projected to stand at Sh1.25 trillion this financial year,” he said.

“In the 2015/16 financial year, the country’s budget was Sh443 billion more than that of the grand coalition and yet the government is telling us that out of this, we cannot afford Sh17 billion for teachers, we disagree.”

Raila stated that the published budget for the government wage bill in the current financial year is Sh329 billion out of a recurrent budget of 987 billion and total budget of 1.88 trillion translating to 33 per cent as recurrent expenditure, 26 per cent as revenue and Sh17.5 per cent as the total budget.

“Even if we add county governments and parastatal, the figures tell a different story from what jubilee is telling the public.”

Raila Odinga noted that public wage bill only stands at 32 per cent of the budget and the government can afford to pay teachers.

The Cord leader further questioned the apparent allocation of 540 billion for government development projects, which stands at more than double of county allocations, saying the figures speak of deeply-rooted corruption in government.

“A recent World Bank report concluded that infrastructure development requirements could be reduced by half through efficiency gains,” said Raila.

“Infrastructure spending, according to the World Bank has been inflated by 100 per cent which is lost through corruption, wasteful projects and embezzlement.”

“The national budget for infrastructure for this year is Sh350 billion, half of which, according to the World Bank, will go to corruption and waste. We have the money to pay teachers.”

Raila attributed the increased wage bill, which has plummeted from Sh21.6 billion in 2012 to Sh71 billion in 2015 to the many ghost workers in government who are being paid for work not done.

The CORD leader further accused Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru of corruption, brushing off her recent threats of legal action against him.

“Recently Waiguru threatened to go to court for my earlier pronouncements linking her to corruption. It is clear that the truth has finally come out,” Raila stated.

He said he has evidence that links Waiguru to corruption at the National Youth Service (NYS) adding that he is ready for a court battle.

Raila Odinga also played down recent resolutions requiring him and CORD co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka to retire from politics as a condition for getting their retirement perks saying they are not ready to quit.

He promised that the coalition would return to Uhuru Park to launch the Okoa Kenya referendum campaign in what is seen as a resurgent political push ahead of the 2017 presidential election.

Raila’s speech was preceded by Kalonzo Musyoka’s declaration that the coalition together with its supporters will pitch tent along Harambee House every Tuesday until teachers are paid their salaries.

Leaders present at the event included Narc Kenya party leader Martha Karua, Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale, Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar, Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama and Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong’o among others.

CORD co-principal and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula and Siaya Senator James Orengo were conspicuously absent.

The rally comes in the wake of an on-going court battle between teachers’ employer Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and their unions, Kenya National Union of Teachers  (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), over salary increment.

While President Uhuru Kenyatta has ruled out payment of teachers’ salary demands due to the burgeoning wage bill, teachers have insisted that they will not go to school until the new pay is effected.