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Why government move to have school fees paid via eCitizen could be declared unconstitutional

Azimio MP faults new directive to have parents pay school fees via eCitizen adding that it will disadvantage some guardians.

Kathiani MP Robert Mbui has recently expressed reservations regarding the new policy regarding paying school fees via eCitizen.

The Azimio MP acknowledged that the idea would be noble but also hinted that the directive might be contested in court.

In an interview on Monday, February 5, Mbui said that prior to enforcing the directive, the Ministry of Education had not sought public input.

“Public participation must always be carried out so that we can ensure that whatever is being brought to the table is something that everybody understands,” Mbui said.

The Deputy Minority Leader noted that the parliament, an arm which is tasked with making laws, was also not involved in the implementation of the new eCitizen directive.

Besides the legal challenges, Mbui faulted the directive insisting that it would disadvantage parents who pay school fees through barter trade.

The MP wondered if the Ministry of Education had considered such avenues before issuing the order.

He also raised an issue of parents who work in schools to clear fees noting that their kids would be compelled to drop out due to the directive.

“There are parents who bring food and such things. The minute you say that parents are supposed to pay through eCitizen, then the first challenge we face is how these parents that provide barter trade, how will they pay fees?” he posed. 

“The idea may be noble, but I think the problem is we are not taking time to figure out these things and include the public to have a conversation to sort this out,” he said. 

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A memo to all national school principals dated January 31, 2024, and signed by Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang directed the institution heads to share school bank account details with the office of the State Department’s Director General by Tuesday, February 6, 2024.

This, the PS said, is part of the government’s efforts to onboard all government services onto the eCitizen platform to enhance service delivery.

“The directorate of e-Citizen in partnership with the Information Communication Technology Authority (ICTA), Ministry of Information, Communication and the Digital Economy and the National Treasury have been coordinating the onboarding of all government services onto the eCitizen platform to enhance service delivery,” the circular read in part.

“As part of compliance with the requirements it is directed that parents/guardians make fee payments for their learners in your institutions through this platform.”

The move follows President William Ruto’s directive in June 2023 on onboarding over 5,000 government services to eCitizen.

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