BONIFACE MWANGI: This is my special message to Uhuru on his birthday
My daughter and President Uhuru Kenyatta have something in common. They both attended the same kindergarten: Lady Northey Nursery School along State House Avenue, a school run by Nairobi County government.
When Uhuru was a pupil there, the school had a big piece of land.
This was not the case when my daughter was there; a big part of the land had been grabbed by a church.
Today, President Uhuru turns 55 and going by his recent remarks, ‘What do you want me do?’, he might ask his handlers, “What do l do on my birthday?”
Here is something he can do for my daughter and other children across this country.
Ensure that every public school has a title deed.
After the police teargassed Lang’ata Road Primary School children who were protesting the grabbing of their school land, President Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Lands to issue title deeds to all schools.
I would like to inform him that hasn’t happened.
There are cases every week of public schools complaining of private developers hiving off part of their land.
The Jubilee government has said they will distribute 1.2 million tablets to all the 23,951 public primary schools by December 2016.
It would be great if those tablets can be issued to schools together with title deeds.
Private developers have grabbed police, military, mortuary and cemetery land. They are now going after schools.
A good percentage of the 23,951 public schools in Kenya do not have title deeds or lease certificates for the land they occupy.
According to Shule Yangu Alliance for the protection of public schools, 11,000 public schools currently face immediate risks from land-grabbers.
Historically, communities used to donate land for schools to be built on and many Kenyans have been educated because of such acts.
Our country today has such entrenched corruption that powerful and well-connected individuals are grabbing public land for personal use.
If no action is taken, public schools, specifically those among marginalized communities, face extinction. The repercussions of this are horrifying.
It threatens the rights of children in Kenya to education. We are custodians of our children’s future and as we borrow and mortgage their future, can we at the very least ensure their schools are safe and secure from the greedy land-grabbers?
School kids don’t have votes but safeguarding schools is securing Kenya’s future.
Mr President, may you realize on your birthday that shifting blame is not a good quality for a leader. If you can’t fight corruption and lead by example, who do you expect to do it?
Happy Birthday, looking forward to seeing that all public school have title deeds!