The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has appealed to Kenyans to observe a state of calm and to be non-violent, so as to allow the more than 1.6 million candidates to sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations in a conducive environment.
“These children represent the future of the nation – the future working force of the country. As such, it is our collective responsibility to create the right environment for them to take their exams and self-determine their future. It is also our responsibility to safeguard businesses, from the largest to the smallest, as these will soon be their source of livelihood,” the umbrella body said.
KEPSA said it stands firm against the calls for boycotts, and unruly demonstrations as they are counter-productive and create a hostile environment for business in the country.
“They are a threat to employees, their families, the suppliers, distributors and customers of these firms, regardless of where in the country they live and work,” it said.
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The statement came as NASA leader Raila Odinga was holding a crucial meeting to decide on the way forward following the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s decision on Monday to call the fresh election in favour of Jubilee’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Raila says NASA will constitute a People’s Assembly and engage in other constitutional means, including boycott of products of companies associated with the Jubilee leadership and its allies as well as picketing and street demonstrations.
However, KEPSA says this actions would further compound the unemployment situation in the country.
“There is no doubt that the high rate of unemployment has been largely responsible for the rising crime wave in parts of the country. As do all Kenyans, KEPSA remains concerned by the outbreak of violence in some areas including parts of Nairobi, Kisumu, Bungoma and Migori. The hostile environment in these areas has led to a decline in economic growth, and in extreme cases, to loss of life. We sincerely condole with all the families from demonstrators, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) staff and security forces that have been affected by these acts of violence,” it said.
KEPSA wants political leaders to put country before self in their public addresses and in their agendas so as to calm and unify the country once again.
“Only once calm, can we all work together to prepare for the national conversation about our divided country that has existed for many decades and determine what it will take to create lasting peace and continuous economic growth,” it said.
“Finally, we would like to wish all candidates sitting for their exams the very best and God’s blessings. Let us all remember that children thrive in peace and a predictable environment. We owe it to our children to build a Kenya that they will enjoy, and in which they can explore and express their full potential. Moving forward, we ask that all Kenyans work together towards creating a peaceful, progressive and unified Kenya for the sake of our children,” KEPSA concluded.
Education Cabinet Secretary Dr Fred Matiang’i also asked Kenyans to give the candidates ample time to sit for their national exams.
Matiang’i urged Kenyans to refrain from activities that may destabilise peace and instead focus on providing a conducive environment for the candidates.
“Between now and November 30, all our attention and focus should be on our children. We will have time for other things later,” he said.
The CS call comes against a backdrop of rising political temperatures across the country.
Speaking Tuesday at ACK Wote Township Primary, the CS assured the candidates that the Ministry of Education has put in place adequate measures to ensure that the exams ran smoothly.
He also allayed any fears of exam leakage and cheating saying that all loopholes that could compromise the integrity of the national exams had been sealed.
“We are going to be strict just like last year and deliver credible exams devoid of malpractices,” he assured.
Matiang’i reiterated the government’s commitment towards restoring confidence in the education system through transparent and credible administration of national exams.
“We don’t want efforts of teachers and learners to go waste and we will continue with the robust reforms that will help achieve accuracy in the way we assess our children,” he said.
He called on education stakeholders and especially teachers to collaborate with the government to achieve credible exams.
“The children have waited for eight and four year respectively and teachers know how important these exams are. Let us work together for the good of our children and the country at large,” said the CS.
Matiang’i, who was accompanied by his Health counterpart Dr Cleopha Mailu also visited Unoa and Emmanuel Springs Academy primary schools.
– Additional reporting by KNA