Saturday, June 18, 2011

PRESIDENT KIBAKI`S INACTION ON CORRUPTION IS A HUGE BLOT ON HIS LEGACY.

The implementation of the Kenya Education Sector Support Program (KESSP) was seen as a final bright star falling into alignment. However, nine years down the line, this program is on the verge of collapse. Close to 4.6 billion of the total money injected into KESSP has been embezzled.

Yet the government is desperately and frantically engaged in semantics in a bid to downplay the enormity of this embezzlement. What the public is hearing is that this money has been misappropriated. However, there is a huge gulf in terms of meaning between embezzlement and misappropriation. The latter may occur due to unauthorized and unregulated virement. On the other hand, embezzlement is outright theft of public finances. So far all indications are that this is an outright act of embezzlement. In fact a few individuals are set to appear in court for theft. However the money that these individuals are alleged to have stolen is less than two hundred million. The million dollar question is where is the rest of the over four billion shillings?

There can only be two plausible explanations. First it could be that though the money was allocated to the Ministry of Basic Education, treasury did not release all of it. This explains why Professor Ongeri has requested parliament to give him more time to reconcile figures. He probably has a point given that treasury has of late been a target of unrelenting opprobrium especially from the Ministry of lands for allegedly sitting pretty on money meant for the resettlement of IDPS. Treasury has on the other hand insisted that it had duly released all the funds. To date, intrigues still surround these funds. Given this history with treasury it is only after Professor Ongeri reconciles the figures that the public can determine the whereabouts of the unaccounted billions.

The second explanation is that a few bureaucrats in the Ministry of Basic Education are being used as a smokescreen to conceal the real faces behind the four billion scam. Obviously the real culprits are people high up in the citadel of political power. They probably need these billions to put in place effective political campaign machinery that will shake all the four corners of the country. KESSP thus became a perfect conduit pipe to harness the necessary billions. This could explain why Professor Ongeri is unshaken even as the public is exposed to the damning audit report. Later he had the gall to furiously spin strange tales in parliament. He even indicted the public for demanding for his immediate resignation. In the opinion of Professor Ongeri anyone remotely associating him with this scam must be too benighted, uncomprehending or completely misinformed. It is hardly surprising that he imagines that calls for his resignation are an “orchestrated evil scheme” to bring him down politically. To this end, he has sought parliament’s protection!

According to Professor Ongeri the fact that his name is not mentioned anywhere in the audit report is enough for him to be vindicated. But there is something in his demeanor that savors of deceit. His utterances are indicative of a minister shirking responsibility. He must be reminded that as the substantive minister, he is the chief custodian of public funds in the ministry of Basic Education. He has the responsibility of ensuring that any public finances including debts incurred by the Government on behalf of the Kenyan people is managed and administered in a transparent and accountable manner.

In this regard, I implore parliament not to take seriously Ongeri`s rhetoric for in so doing parliament will only be sanctifying the depths of his errors and imagine (as he has done) that there are hidden motives in the public`s call for his resignation. Contrary to what Ongeri believes, this insidious scheme threatens to bring down (not him), but the future of millions of the poor Kenyan children and the future of the country as a whole.

His denial reminds me an Igbo saying that states that “a rock behind the sea does not hear rainfall even if it rains torrentially.” This is because such a rock is always wet to notice the rain. Like this rock, Professor Ongeri is absolutely drenched in the FPE scam. No matter the torrential outpouring of complaints from the public, he is simply tone deaf.

Finally, the true picture on graft among public officers would be incomplete if President Kibaki`s nine year presidency that has been punctuated by stunning inaction is omitted. The only time he seemed active was last year when he suddenly found the voice to denounce the PM`s suspension of professor Ongeri and William Ruto over corruption allegations. Later on he gave a fiery speech in parliament whose unmistakable intention was to lambast the PM. Furthermore, reports that President Kibaki is keen to have suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto back in the Cabinet despite the fact that he was acquitted on frivolous grounds is indicative of the fact that President Kibaki is least interested in converting his rhetoric on graft into action.

President Kibaki must know that his inaction on corruption is a huge blot in his nine year legacy. It is high time he took notice of the public discontent with the state of affairs and took the necessary action against corrupt public officers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

LET US NOT USE THE OLD CONSTITUTION AS A CONDUIT FOR CONVEYING OUR EVIL INTENTS INTO THE NEW CONSTITUION.

Barring the court case, the budget is going to be read to parliament this week. This is besides the fact that there has been no appropriation bill under consideration, no debate on the floor of the house. Yet buried deep in the Finance Minister`s response to the brisk criticism of his unwillingness or purported inability to live up to the provisions of the new constitution is his characteristic haughtiness. Never mind that this haughtiness is coming from a presidential hopeful!

Besides his failure to present an appropriation bill to the August House he has previously never met any deadline in the presentation of annual or supplementary budgetary estimates. Even worse is the fact that there has always been a glaring “mistake” in the same estimates. Yet he has the gall to tell us that the implementation of budgetary accounting and public management reform takes time. He also mumbled something to the effect that there is need of training and the necessity of a cultural change before meeting the constitutional requirement on public finances as entailed in the new constitution.

This is hubris. First, I have examined the chapter on public finances with a fine- toothed comb and suffice to say that there is nowhere where it envisages that one can anchor his indolence in the old constitution while implementing the new constitution. Secondly, it is inexcusable for the finance minister to quote time constraints when we know too well that the Ministry of Finance is inundated with the best economists and software that can shorten the budget making exercise to just a fraction of the analogue years.

It therefore goes without saying that by choosing to present the annual appropriations at his convenience, the minister is in fact rubbishing article 221 of the new constitution which makes it explicitly clear that for the envisaged scrutiny to take place, the Cabinet Secretary (Now the Minister for Finance) has to submit to the August House estimates of the revenue and expenditure of the national government for the prospective financial year at least two months before the end of the financial year. By extension, he has flouted the entire chapter on public finances which substantially extends the legislatures` right regarding scrutiny of annual appropriations. It seems to me that the minister is unhappy that Parliament has a right to fuller and more relevant information; the kind of information that bestows upon it real strategic steering power.

His failure is thus not informed by the constraints of time but rather by the fear of the legislature exercising power over the purse. He knows as much that this power over the purse is a complete and effectual weapon with which legislators can obtain a redress of every grievance, and carry into effect every just and salutary measure. The minister fears the fact that there is an elephant in the budget detail revolving around projected government expenditure in the national as well as county governments.

In fact when parliament indicated that it will give him the leeway to flout the provisions of the chapter on public finances, he breathed a sigh of relief. He took it as the triumph of his desires over the national and county interests. He had simply managed to trick the legislature into believing that any roadblock to the presentation of the budget to the August House or the unnecessary delay in the adoption of the budget will lead to delays in their salaries, hence the urgency to have the budget adopted in the blink of an eye. Unbeknown to many such a scenario is aptly provided for in article 222(1, 2a, b and c) of the new constitution.

By abdicating a role so sacrosanct legislators have indicated their willingness to opening wide the sluice-gates of corruption in the budgeting process. This is because even though the planning and programming stage of the budgetary process does not entail handling of the actual money flow, it constitutes part of the budgetary corruption process that manifests itself in the actual payments or transfers of money at the budget execution stage. It therefore goes without saying that if the preliminary stages are poorly executed, the danger of cascading corruption opportunities become real.

But then in a sense, our inebriate parliament has been in a pro-forma session all year. Beyond a few ho-hum pieces of legislation—legislators could have taken a nine month holiday at the sun and sin resort and the country would be none the worse. Although we know that the most pressing issue facing our country is the runaway inflation and the staggering high cost of living occasioned by corruption and poor governance parliament is simply not embarrassed to set a new standard for dereliction of duty.

Friday, May 20, 2011

POLITICIANS AND NOT POLLSTERS HAVE A DIABOLICAL CONTROL OVER THE MINDS OF THE MASSES.

Poll opinions, especially in the form of pre-election polling are standard tools for the political class as well as numerous organizations and business firms concerned with mass public opinion. This is how we ought to understand them. Indeed, this is how poll opinions are understood the world over. But the same cannot be said of Kenya. Here, the public is continually inundated with harsh criticisms against pollsters. Politicians will almost always challenge the appropriateness as well as the validity of opinion polls, whenever such findings are not boding well with their political desires.

They would accuse professional pollsters of having a tendency of the casual mind which, stumbling upon a sample which supports or defines their (pollsters`) prejudices; they would not hesitate to make it a representative of a whole population. Some politicians have even opined that pollsters are used as agents for influencing people’s attitudes and behavior especially in political contests. In other words, they see poll opinions as effective political propaganda tools.

Yet if the same politicians were to be told that they were leading in the court of public opinion they would celebrate and hail it (poll) as a barometer of the prospective general election. At no time would they pour cold water on the poll nor would they declare it a straw poll.

In tenaciously clinging to the view that poll opinions exercise diabolical control over the voters` minds politicians will be exhuming the long discounted theoretical framework of uniform media effects. Consequently, to allege without any empirical evidence whatsoever that opinion polls can influence masses to favor a political faction that seems to be enjoying a notable popularity at the time is a little short of flaunting ones ignorance.

According to Paul Lazarsfeld, even though the mass media (of which poll opinions are part and parcel of) is very influential in awareness creation, it has very minimal effect on changing people’s attitudes and behavior. People vote based on ethnic considerations as well as socio-economic predispositions, hence media’s role is minimal and accounts for very little if any conversions.

In his research on persuasion, Carl Hovland further corroborated Lazarsfeld`s view when his research on persuasion brought to an end the era of the viability of the powerful media effects theory. Much effort was instead directed at finding the magic keys to persuasion. Today, many scholars in the communication field hold the view that politicians as opinion shapers hold these keys. This is because the word of mouth is more powerful than an opinion poll; hence a politician only needs to be eloquent enough to win over people and put them at his disposal. Politicians also mediate media messages, churn propaganda and counter arguments which serve to remove or dilute the partisan doubts and to refute the opposition’s arguments which the voter encounters in exposure to media. This creates security, stabilizes and solidifies voters’ intention, and translates into actual votes or desired actions. This is what happened before, during and after the 2007 Post Election Violence.

From the foregoing, it is incorrect for a section of the political class to opine that people are incited to violence or unwittingly change their attitudes and behavior in support of a faction that is enjoying a roller-coaster courtesy of the pollsters.

As for the appropriateness of the polls, it is incumbent upon the political class to understand that scientific polling is not a matter of lottery. Here, proper techniques are employed and the sample is representative hence the results obtained are close to the results one would get if the entire population was to be surveyed. This means that if 46 percent of the sample surveyed thinks that a certain politician is the likely candidate to win the presidency, statistical theory can corroborate that even if the whole population was to be surveyed, the probability is 95 percent that between 44 to 48 percent of the people would express the same approval as the sample.

Politicians must also be advised that pollsters only tell them which way the cat is jumping. It is upon politicians themselves to take care of the cat. Put in a different way, it is the work of politicians to sway public opinion in their own favor. They should therefore start by asking why polls seem unfavorable to them. This should then be followed by clear strategies that would see them try to sway voters in their favour. Unless, of course, they are not equal to the challenge, and they have therefore resigned to letting public-opinion poll be a substitute for thought.

In the event that politicians have qualms with the poll findings then the prudent thing for them to do is to engage other polling experts to carry out a similar exercise. It is doubtable whether gagging pollsters will in any way prolong the careers of politicians rather it will only portray them as people who do not espouse the fundamentals of scientific methodology which by and large, is anchored in logical reasoning and empirical objectivity. Furthermore, such a move is unconstitutional as it will only serve to roll back the democratic gains that this country has so far achieved.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WHERE IS KENYA`S COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES?

Had he been conscripted in the Whiteman’s Army, President Kibaki could perhaps be in the top echelons of our armed forces today. He was a passionate proponent of Kenya`s sovereignty. He wanted to defend his country from any form of external aggression. However, the Colonial Government shattered his boyhood dreams. It could not trust a native of central province in the army. Undeterred, he consumed the Whiteman`s books with an unparalleled appetite. He wanted to become a Professor of economics. His academic conquests awed many even though he did not go beyond a master`s degree. As fate would have it, his entry into the thick of politics saw him become Kenya`s Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. His boyhood dream was thus fulfilled.

But the Kibaki who last week graced the swearing in ceremony of President Museveni was a stark difference from the younger Kibaki. He quietly smiled as his host ranted about the principles of mutual respect for territorial integrity, nonaggression, noninterference, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence with neighbors. As these words majestically rolled off his tongue his belligerent army was busy displaying the grandeur of its power through terrorizing Kenyan citizens on Migingo and Ugingo. I wondered whether President Kibaki missed the fact that Museveni`s speech was underlain by a sharp contrary meaning.

The preceding week had seen some of Kenya’s political elites visit Todonyang. They were shocked at the massacre visited upon the Kenyans as well as the extent of annexation of Kenya`s territory. Upon their return to Nairobi they were patriotic enough to move a motion on the floor of the House urging the Kenyan Government to safeguard our territorial integrity, sovereignty and security. In short they were telling President Kibaki to smell the coffee. After all he is the Commander in Chief of Kenya`s Armed Forces, hence the onus for safeguarding Kenya`s sovereignty is on him. Like these legislators, I cannot figure out why President Kibaki watches in grotesque silence as those with gargantuan expansionist appetite grab hold of our sovereignty and nail it on the altar of illiberalism. Are we living on borrowed sovereignty?

Buoyed by President Kibaki`s silence Kenya`s coalition government has increasingly spoken at cross-purposes on an issue as sacrosanct as our sovereignty. For instance, two years ago the government spokesperson (whose views are largely reflective of PNU`s body politic) was of the view that Migingo Island was too small an Island to put strain on bilateral relations between Kenya and Uganda. He seemed to be saying that we could trade off this ‘insignificant” island with bilateral relations! I bet he is still flaunting Kenya`s sovereignty even as its territory is annexed by the day. I implore him that for once he should withdraw into the citadel of reason and debouch with the cannon of truth.

Besides the political class, Kenya`s army is another terrible eyesore. It is the only army on the face of the earth that is populated with sons and daughters of the rich. In the street parlance they are called cerelac babies. A couple of months ago I heard a story of how so many of the army cadets fainted in droves during a week`s expedition on Mount Kenya. They could not just pass the fitness test. This is in sharp contrast with the administration police who on being subjected to the same test, passed with flying colours.

Apart from the soldiers` fitness is also the question of the runaway corruption in the army that has largely been responsible for the procurement of dilapidated equipment. The disadvantage in equipment as well as in training makes our army a less formidable force perhaps in the whole of Africa.

It therefore follows that unless and until we address these inadequacies, we may as well be contended with the fact that our army will continue to earn huge perks as well as promotions up the ranks through demonstration of their valiance in combats that only succeed in killing innocent Kenyan babies as happened recently at Maroroi in Ngong.

Just in case President Kibaki is unaware, let him know that the public is annoyed. They want him to be the commander that he so earnestly wished to be. They want him to replace this effete army with strong, valorous and patriotic Kenyans so that they can shatter those who wish to turn our liberty into a grave yard.

I presume that President Kibaki would heed the people`s call. I presume that he does not wish to be remembered as a Commander in Chief “who appeared dissipated, increasingly fatalistic and totally indifferent to the danger that the country was in; a Commander in Chief who never said a foolish thing, but one who never did a wise thing either, a Commander in Chief who at the sight of the people`s suffering donned blinders. The Gikuyu of Kenya have a name for this type of a Commander- “Kiguoya.”

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

INFLATION: GOVERNMENT BITING THE VERY HAND THAT FEEDS IT.

In the early hours of this week`s Tuesday night, Nairobi city and its environs was engulfed in torrential rainfall. Drenched but resilient commuters trekked to their respective homes. Like them, I too was dog-tired of constant fare hikes occasioned by unethical practices such as fuel hoarding by cartels and the resultant exorbitant fuel prices. Along the way, we discussed about many issues if only to mollify the effect of the unrelenting rainfall.
I listened to the torrents of their afflictions. Looking into their pained faces it occurred to me that theirs was the anguish of the entire nation. It was the anguish occasioned by an unfeeling parliament. In fact one of them referred to it as “The Shrine of Pomposity.” Another one called it “A Hall of Pretentiousness.” I could not agree more with them. It occurred to me that ours is a country truly populated by an abundance of legislators but it is hampered by a dangerous dearth of leaders.

At hand is a direful situation that would drive nuts any responsible leader, but our legislators are more than usual calm. Frankly, they do not give a damn as the country`s economy totters on the brink of collapse courtesy of the “Leviathan Inflation.” What we have are legislators who will pretend to empathize rather than risk offending us by telling us to peacefully manage our own pangs of hunger.

Our legislators have succeeded in subjecting us to sustained and undisciplined extravaganza of incoherence as hyper-inflationary conditions breed normlessness. We are witnessing a generation of the business class that is busy manipulating prices to rake in huge profits in order to stay ahead of the current “inflation.” Our legislators have remained conspicuously silent when a coterie blames our country`s economic vicissitudes on turmoil in the global oil market when the truth is that it is the government`s incoherent policies in the energy sector, inability to address persistent drought conditions, political tensions and absence of sound fiscal policies that have largely seen our country`s economy nearly obliterated. It is this colossal inability to effectively and efficiently manage the country`s affairs that will tend to keep inflation present in the economy even when the original reasons for it occurring will long have gone.

Secondly, much as honorable Ephraim Maina may have very noble intentions in reintroducing the Price Control Bill I am afraid that it will suffer the same fate it suffered last year. Just last year, attempts at putting in place price regulation mechanisms for essential products sparked controversy with FKE stating that any curb of Kenya`s unrestrained free enterprise is anathema. Majority of the Legislators will most definitely give this revised bill a wide berth given that most of them are themselves merchants, consequently, a price stabilization mechanism will stand in the way of their in-built avarice.


Thirdly, legislators have maintained a studious silence even as the government proposes to increase taxation on salaried workers (the very hand that feeds it) as one of the many measures of bringing down inflation. It behooves the intelligence of the salaried workers that legislators and owners of capital, who already own most of the wealth, will almost be getting a free ride. The corporate chieftains and other shareholders will continue getting full benefit of any profit from the paper shuffling of their businesses, while anyone earning more than the median wage gets more and more of their income sequestered by the government.

They are dead silent because the bulk of their money is made up of their untaxed allowances. They live in a glass house and they cannot afford to throw stones. For the citizenry, this is a very serious and unfair discrimination. In fact, it is a recipe for the haves continuing to gain more, while the have-nots bear the brunt of leveraging the economy. Despite the public`s persistent demands that such allowances be taxed, the MPs have remained largely unmoved. We must reiterate for the umpteenth time that income is income and should consequently be taxed the same.

While these conceited and infantile exhibitionists do what they know best in their “Shrine of Pomposity,” almost every other day a new story of institutional and individual graft will be churned out to the trekking Kenyans rendering the likes of Triton and Goldenberg a mere child`s play. The trekking Kenyans are the chosen few on the face of the earth who can peacefully live and breed double fold amid a biting inflation, debilitating corruption and diseases.

I cannot agree more with French Canadian film director Denys Arcand when he opines that “as civilizations approach collapse, people become more concerned about their own gratification than about their social responsibilities.” Indeed, our legislators seem intent on proving this theory correct.

Monday, April 25, 2011

STATE INVITES LEGAL ANARCHY WHEN IT BUNGLES CASES AGAINST POLITICALLY CORRECT INDIVIDUALS.

Traditionally, the scales of justice are depicted as in anticipation of the weight of evidence. Indeed this is the idyllic to which we all aspire. Unfortunately, in Kenya, the path to justice is riddled with mishaps. We have increasingly witnessed cases against powerful individuals bungled.

In what appears to be more of a public relations exercise than the quest for justice, the state through the Attorney General (AG) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in cahoots with the defense teams, deliberately or otherwise, employs subterfuge to tip the scales in favour of the “politically correct individuals.”

Recently, in totally inexplicable circumstances, the AG and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) failed to produce in court a key state witness to demonstrate the culpability of a defendant accused of defrauding the public. Consequently, the court declared that the defendant had no case to answer. It is unlikely that the state will appeal against this decision. Even more chilling is the fact that the said party may soon laugh all the way back to cabinet.

From the foregoing, one cannot fail to notice that the administration of the law is subject to outside influences; especially the power of money and its concomitant political influence. At the very least, justice is akin to a match fixing scandal where players from both teams are allowed to commit unsportsmanlike acts in order to gift the moneyed team a win. In legal parlance, it is referred to as “professional courtesy.”

The joke of it all is that even though hundreds of millions of the taxpayers` money was paid out to certain companies, the AG and the DPP want the public to believe that these companies were not legal entities since ghosts (and not human beings) provided these companies with the mind and soul (corpus and animus). In other words, they are telling the public that no personal liability can be imposed by the courts of law when a wily shareholder operates a company as an “alter ego” for wrongful purposes.

Clearly, our justice system seems to be sending the message to the public that it cannot “pierce the corporate veil.” This is a legal decision that treats the rights or duties of a company as the rights or liabilities of its shareholders or directors. Usually a company is treated as a separate legal person, solely responsible for the debts it incurs and the sole beneficiary of the credit it is owed. Common law countries usually uphold this principle of separate personhood, but in exceptional situations courts of law may "pierce" or "lift" the corporate veil.

This doctrine is used by the courts to ignore the corporate status of a group of stockholders, officers, and directors of a corporation in reference to their limited liability so that they may be held personally liable for their actions when they have acted fraudulently or unjustly. In other words, a court of law looks beyond the legal fiction to the reality of the situation.

Several courts have determined that the alter ego doctrine can be applied to Limited Liability Companies. In the US for instance, in Kaycee Land & Livestock versus Flahive, (2002), the Wyoming Supreme Court held that the equitable doctrine of piercing the veil was an available remedy under the Wyoming Limited Liability Company Act. In the UK, the corporate veil was lifted in the case between Gencor versus Dalby, because the company was the "alter ego" of the defendant.

In Kenya, section 320 of the Company Act imposes liability for fraudulent conduct of a company business. Under this section if in the course of winding up of a company it appears that any business of the company has been carried on with the intent to defraud the company or any other persons or for any fraudulent purpose those who were knowingly party to such conduct or business may in the discretion of the court be made personally liable for all or any debts of the company. A number of milestones cases exemplify this. Among them are: National Social Security Fund Board of Trustee Versus Ankhan Holding Limited & 2 Others (2006) as well as Standard Chartered Bank Kenya Ltd Versus Intercom Services Ltd & 4 Others (2004).

“Piercing the corporate veil” is therefore the only means of breaking down a wily individual`s protection. This is mostly done when such a company is the wily shareholder`s “alter ego” and is a sham or fa├žade used to evade creditors or to defraud the public.

Given the soaring corruption cases in Kenya revolving around limited liability companies, it is the public`s expectation that the legal system would not shy from “lifting the corporate veil” to expose the real fraudsters. It would make a lot of social and economic sense if a company is barred from being the alter ego of the principal corporate.

Suffice to say that a legal system that is operated by and for criminals has no greater enemy than the law abiding citizen. In the words of Eustace Mullins “let it not be asked whether the lunatics have taken over the asylum.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NEW MEDICAL INSURANCE SCHEME: ARE TEACHERS PENNY WISE BUT POUND FOOLISH?

The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) managers have showered teachers with praises for being “full of magnanimous emotions.” They have praised them for their patriotism and their generous spirit. This was occasioned by the teachers` resounding rejection of a plan to have them join the new medical insurance scheme. Teachers opined that unlike legislators and many other affluent Kenyans who jealously guard their exclusive and expensive private healthcare insurance schemes, they (teachers) are forever bound with millions of Kenya`s holloi polloi. They said that they will continue sharing with them the thinly spread benefits accruing from their (teachers`) contribution to NHIF. What many people do not know is that this “magnanimity” comes at an astronomical cost.

First, despite teachers being faithful contributors to NHIF`s kitty, the latter offers them disastrously low benefits which often spell financial disaster when serious illness or disaster strikes. Because of the poor state of public hospitals especially in the rural areas, teachers and their family members have had to seek medical services from well equipped private hospitals. Here, NHIF can only defray a paltry of the huge accrued medical bills.

Secondly, amid the increased health costs coupled with corruption and structural inefficiencies in the NHIF as well as the declining government support in the health sector, teachers have had to dig deeper into their pockets to meet their health needs. Unfortunately, poor pay has made it practically impossible for many of them to afford medical services such as kidney dialysis, a procedure that is essential for many patients with kidney disease; many still cannot afford cancer treatment. The list goes on ad infinutum.

Thirdly, these prohibitive costs have turned out to be more than teachers can afford except by mortgaging their families` future. Many are the times I have witnessed teachers and their family members turned away in droves from private hospitals or evicted from hospital beds due to their inability to pay for medical services. Many have died because the medical allowances they receive cannot defray the cost of treatment. These are tragedies that teachers have had to bear in Kenya.

One would have that that with the above problems in mind, talks of establishing a better medical insurance scheme exclusively for teachers and civil servants would not touch off an explosion of furious protracted polemics. On the contrary, it seems that this state of affairs will continue ad infinitum.

Teachers appear contended with soaring medical bills in private hospitals. According to teachers it is cost effective to pay less to NHIF but dig deeper into their own pockets for quality treatment. They prefer remaining in NHIF and put up with a health care insurance that is designed more for the convenience of the NHIF Fund managers to marching out in droves to a new medical insurance scheme complete with its explicit entitlements. Thanks to the teachers` understanding and magnanimous nature the NHIF managers have their jobs intact. After all, the “penny wise and pound foolish philosophy” has kept their milk cow alive.