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Thomas Joseph Mboya and his legacy in Kenya

A man Kenya wants to forget is a man by the name Thomas Joseph Odhiambo (Mboya) best known as Tom Mboya. His statue has been erected by the Kenyan government infront of Nairobi Archives where he had his office. A Kenyan flamboyant politician who by the age of 30 had attraversed the world with his brilliant ideas. He was the one behind the first constitution (Lancaster House Conference) that brought independence and key confidant of the first President, Jomo Kenyatta. He was born in 1930 and was unfortunately assassinated by a gun man in 1969. He was already a bureaucrat and a great diplomat. He was the leader that brought trade union movement to Kenya at the time Kenya was healing from the amorphous colonial rule. He was an educationist and a brilliant panafricanist at a time when men and women of his age would not dream of speaking about African issues publicly and promote civil rights movements. He did not have university degree but his academic excellence at university colleges was already exemplary. Mboya was a geneous turned to a shrewd politician. He was extraordinarily eloquent, intelligent and charmful by all standards. His speeches attracted the world attention at prime age. He spoke smart on behalf of Kenyans and rights of workers at his youthful age. His book The Independence and After speaks about African socialism and insights for sustainable development. His project African Airlift Project with President JF Kennedy made it possible for Obama senior to study in the USA, and left a legacy for the world known President Obama Jr.
Kenyan government built Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu in memory of a man whose life and legacy ended up with a sound of a gun in the city of Nairobi. His death brought darkness in the Kenyan political development but sparked more light in the trade unionism and struggle for the right of workers. A man Kenya should not forget!
Teachers in the public sector still benefit from the hard work of KNUT and KUPPET the two main trade unions protecting the rights of teachers in the country and very strong movements. The government attempt to extinguish and weaken teachers have been invain due to determination and conviction of workers. Even if there is need for changes in the education system, and desire to introduce quality education, it has not been an easy move for the government to fire teachers at will without the intervention of the trade unions. Attempt to introduce performance contract was not successful. The move to sack striking teachers in Kenya in 2015, followed by recruiting new teachers on contract has been thwarted by court of Appeal ruling. Government institution TSC has not option but to find lasting solutions for education.
Mboya will be remembered for his hard work in establishing strong trade union and spirit of workers in Kenya. Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) is one of the most recognised institutions not only in Kenya but world wide. It is a member of the International Labour Organisation and other regional bodies. Its stand for human rights of workers reflects exactly what Tom Mboya had in mind at its inception.
The long time strike of teachers in Kenya was stopped by the court ruling. The same ruling stopped the TSC from recruiting new teachers and putting the government into another twist. The best option is not to fire the teachers because of strike but to improve their wages, motivate them and build their capacity more. Congratulations to Trade Unions and human rights activists that foresee the power of workers and collective bargain system. Congratulations to teachers who have not relented in calling for their rights and taking the rule of law seriously. I also thank the government for its resilience and manouvre to innovate the education sector. All will be fine.
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About Peter Onyango

Dr. Peter Onyango O. is one of our main contributors. He is a senior law lecturer, a writer, a consultant, peace ambassador, and a researcher. He assists so many professionals, legal minds, and debaters with his skills and scholarly wealth! He supports children and village community as a way of giving back to community. He edits, proof reads, and publishes various articles for our page!

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