In Summary

  • Documents seen by the Sunday Nation show that top government officials have, in the process, breached the TSC Act No 20 of 2012.
  • The standoff has hindered the work of the commission that has a budget of about Sh156 billion and employs more than 300,000 teachers.
  • According to the TSC Act, the commission has seven functions, which include formulating policy, managing the payroll, and enforcing standards.

Attempted moves by top government officials to plant their allies at the Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) are to blame for the stalemate at the agency.

Documents seen by the Sunday Nation show that top government officials have, in the process, breached the TSC Act No 20 of 2012, disregarded a court decision and advice from the Attorney-General’s office to stick to the rule of law in appointing TSC chairperson and commissioners, positions that have been vacant for close to 24 months now.

The standoff has hindered the work of the commission that has a budget of about Sh156 billion and employs more than 300,000 teachers countrywide.

Without a chair and full membership, the commission cannot perform some of its tasks.

According to the TSC Act, the commission has seven functions, which include formulating policy, managing the payroll, and enforcing standards.

In one of the documents, Attorney-General Githu Muigai advises TSC and Parliament to stick to the law through two letters sent to the two institutions in January last year, and March this year.

“As regards the existing vacancies, and for which a selection process has already been initiated, it behoves the President to draw fresh names of nominees from the list that has been prepared by the selection panel.

The issue of constituting a new selection panel to select candidates for the existing vacancies does not arise at all. A selection has already been constituted by the President as provided for by law,” says Prof Muigai in one of his letters.

His remarks are repeated in another letter signed on his behalf by the Solicitor-General Njee Muturi dated March 23 and addressed to Parliament.

In this letter, the AG gives legal advice to Parliament in a letter addressed to Majority Leader Aden Duale.

This is when the selection came up in Parliament after another attempt to hire the chairperson and commissioners failed.

However, earlier in January, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua had waded into the controversy, when he sought to disband the Prof James Kamunge panel constituted two years ago to interview and select the chair and commissioners to the TSC.

In a letter to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) urging them to nominate members to the panel, the AG wrote: “As you are aware, the post of chairman and five members of Teachers’ Service Commission have been vacant for quite some time.

In accordance with the TSC Act, 2012, section 8 (1, 2), the President is mandated to constitute a selection panel which will oversee the appointment of a chairperson and members.”

TSC Secretary and Chief Executive Gabriel Lengoiboni, in a brief to Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi, had advised that the selection panel can only be dissolved if all the names they selected are approved by Parliament, which did not happen.

“However in the event Parliament rejects all the nominees, then fresh advertisement and shortlisting should be undertaken by the selection panel,” said Mr Lengoiboni.

Two years ago, the process stalled after the Office of the President showed preference for Mr Kiragu wa Magochi despite a former Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development chief executive, Dr Lydia Nzomo, having led during the interviews.

President Mwai Kibaki had forwarded the name of Mr wa Magochi who had been rejected twice by the previous Parliament.

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