Magoha controversies that sparked debate
Former Education Cabinet Secretary the late Prof George Magoha not only implemented and advocated for reforms in the education sector but also stirred controversy.
In his scope of work, where the media was always by his side, Prof Magoha always the cut the image of no nonsense scholar and leader who was loved and hated in equal measure.
Her are some the most memorable moments when he courted controvery:
When he linked NTV journalist with an outlawed terrorist group
In a function at Pumwani Girls and Pumwani Boys Secondary Schools in Nairobi, after he laid a foundation stone for the second phase of the building of Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) junior high classrooms, Prof Magoha associated an NTV journalist with an outlawed Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
Rukia Bulle, who had asked the then CS a question did not get an immediate response and instead Prof Magoha demanded to know which media house she represented before making remarks that were deemed to have profiled the reporter by associating her with the terrorist group.
Magoha’s remarks caused an uproar not only amongst Muslims but on socials with some demanding for his sacking.
When he dismissed a man in a demeaning manner
The incident happened on August 2 as he was inspecting and commissioning new CBC phase two classrooms at Bar Union Secondary School in Kisumu County.
In a video that also heavy criticism, a man was shown giving the CS a jerrican to water a tree that had been planted in his honour.
In response to the gesture, Prof Magoha blurted out, “Get away from me, you smell of alcohol,” as police officers, teachers and students watched.
When he publicly reprimanded a senior education officer
In another incident in November 2020, Prof Magoha was seen reprimanding a grey-haired senior citizen before dismissing him. During an impromptu visit to Langas Primary School in Eldoret, the CS was seen visibly angry and wildly gesticulating at the Uasin Gishu County director of education.
“The situation on the ground is not good,” he said as he took issue with sanitation at the school’s compound.
The man tried to respond, noting that the issue would be addressed and a report prepared.
“I am not talking about a report; I am talking about what is here on the ground. If I say you are a fool, would I be lying?” a furious Magoha retorted.
His tough stance on homosexuality in schools
On yet another occasion, while addressing school heads in Kisumu, Prof Magoha said students engaging in homosexuality should be limited to only day schools and not boarding schools, so that they do not ‘bother’ their classmates in their dormitories.
His comments landed him in trouble with LGBTQ+ activists, prompting him to ‘clarify’ that his comments had been misunderstood.
“You can be a good homosexual who does not disturb anybody you go and do your thing when you are out of school,” Magoha later said.
When he lectured regional director of education
In another instance, during an inspection in Baringo County, Prof Magoha lost his temper and scolded the Rift Valley Regional Director of Education over what he termed as lagging behind the 80 per cent transition to secondary schools.
“If you want to resign and go into politics, do so now. I am telling you in public that I will not take it,” the CS angrily scolded the education director.
When one of the officers working with the regional officer tried to explain what he had been doing, Prof Magoha told him to shut up.