Q&A with Mwanaisha Chidzuga: Ruto Government Unfazed by Court Orders

February 19, 2024

The Kenya Kwanza administration is facing substantial challenges in fulfilling its promises to Kenyans, yet President Ruto and top government officials insist on the steady and on-course implementation of the Bottom-Up Approach (Beta).

Deputy Government Spokesperson Mwanaisha Chidzuga spoke to the People Daily on why she believes they will weather the storm.

Q: What is the government doing to ensure that it achieves its 100 percent learner transition promise from primary to secondary school in the wake of massive upsets dogging the education sector currently?

A: The Ministry of Education in conjunction with Interior and Coordination is pushing for an aggressive mop-up exercise by employing a multi-agency approach to ensure no learner is left behind through the local administrators such as chiefs. We aim to ensure that every child who sits the national examination goes to school because education is a human right under the law.  The government has also released capitation funds to schools to ensure that children access uninterrupted learning. The main reason local administrators are involved is to ensure action is taken against parents who fail to cooperate in seeing that their children are enrolled in school.
What is the progress of the mop up of learners who scored grade E in last year’s KCSE 2023 examination to get enrolled in technical institutes and what is the significance and aim of this exercise?The government believes that if a student scores grade E in final examinations, it does not mean the end of the world for them. We have heavily invested in technical training institutes and village polytechnics to ensure that such students get skills that can make them eke out a living like their counterparts who score impressive grades. The Kenya Kwanza administration intends to ensure that no youth remains unskilled by staying at home.

The government directed that all Inua Jamii beneficiaries get enrolled on mobile telephone networks to ensure they receive money via phones instead of lining up in banks. However, some elderly persons are incapacitated. How will these be made possible?

Through the national government and administration system in conjunction with county directors of social development and children officers, we have started reaching out to the elderly who are beneficiaries of Inua Jamii to educate them on how to register through mobile phone to receive the funds instead of traveling long distances to local banks. We are also using the same platforms to urge those who are qualified to be beneficiaries to get registered for the programme. We are aware that some do not have mobile phones and depend on their kin to receive the funds. We are collaborating with mobile phone service providers to ensure the beneficiaries are registered and receive the monthly stipend. The government has also involved local leaders to help in identifying those who deserve to benefit from the funds but are not currently benefiting

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki had announced a raft of reforms at the Department of Immigration and Registration of Persons to streamline the issuance of passports. However, there are still reports of delays in issuing of passports with long queues being witnessed in Passport Application and Processing Stations.

We had been facing delays before because the printing machines weren’t working. One of the machines broke down and the government has been able to procure two new machines. Set up for the machines is currently ongoing and when complete delays in issuance of passports will be a thing of the past. The biggest challenge of passport acquisition has been printing because the demand is too high and the booklets are not produced locally.

There has also been the problem of issuing of national identification cards with reports that thousands of Kenyans are not able to obtain the documents. What is happening?

The government started a new phase of issuing digital identity cards although a court action stopped the process. This has halted the process because it has to wait until the court case is over. The government believes in the rule of law and the right of Kenyans to seek court intervention over government delivery of its services.

There has been a persistent problem of insecurity in the North Rift region. This has disrupted learning in schools and daily activities.  What is the government doing to address the problem?

Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki is doing a lot on the banditry question in the North Rift region. Even as we are fighting insecurity in the area, we are also conducting an exercise in conjunction with the local administration to have learners whose schooling is affected by instability get enrolled in other schools.

The army has also been stationed in the region and has built schools and other social facilities to ensure that normal lives are not disrupted. The government has also mapped out the affected regions with the view of employing additional teachers in schools.

The government has insisted that school fees and other government services be paid through the e-citizen portal despite a court order against the same.

Channeling payment of government services through paperless means is the future everywhere. There is digital migration in everything that we do because technology is evolving and Kenya cannot afford to be left behind. Why walk into a government office to seek and pay for a service if that can be done in the comfort of your house or office?

I would request Kenyans to embrace it because apart from making it easy to access or transact business, it also helps in eliminating corruption. The government is losing so much money because those responsible cannot account for it. We believe e-citizen is the solution in improving efficiency in service delivery and service transformation.

The government is finding itself between a rock and a hard place in delivering its promises to Kenyans as almost all its major programmes have been stopped by courts. Can there be an amicable way to resolve this impasse?

The government is not perturbed by court decisions stopping its transformative agenda because Kenyans elected it to change their lives. When the president took his oath of office, he swore to protect the constitution and follow the rule of law, however, the government cannot accept whatsoever for people to misuse the freedoms enshrined in the constitution to stop frustrate implementation of any project the government is implementing.

There should be a balance and understanding because it is also a constitutional right for Kenyans to own decent homes and receive health care. When you stop the government from delivering these then you are also interfering with the rights of Kenyans. The government has been committed to what the courts are saying. We are following the due processes such as calling of public participation forums because we are not going to stop implementing promises the government gave Kenyans.

Kenyans have lost lives through the consumption of illegal brews and gas explosions. Has the government failed to protect Kenyans against rogue or unscrupulous businesspersons?

Government officials have their responsibilities cut out because they are the face of the government where they are posted. I support the deputy president for pushing for the recalling of the administration officials who did not act to prevent the deaths of Kenyans who consumed illegal alcohol in Kirinyaga County because we will not allow Kenyans to lose lives yet there are officials responsible for preventing such deaths.

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