Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga has urged the government to meet the striking teachers’ pay demands.
Teachers have been on strike for three weeks now, demanding the adoption of a 50-60 per cent salary increase awarded to them by the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
The government has however refused to increase their pay and ordered schools throughout the country to be closed down.
On Wednesday the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) held a mammoth rally at the Uhuru Park in Nairobi in solidarity with the teachers.
Addressing the rally, Mr Odinga said: “Our teachers have demanded a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. Our courts have agreed they deserve it, they must have it. President Uhuru Kenyatta says, Can’t pay, Won’t Pay. Our children find themselves at the right place, at the wrong time; at home in September and not in school as is tradition. The times demand that we speak candidly and decisively, truthfully and frankly, honestly and boldly.”
During the rally the Opposition leaders unveiled an M-Pesa account through which the public can donate money to the “Teachers Solidarity Account”. They said the money would be used to sustain the teachers’ strike.
Mr Odinga appealed to Kenyans to send their contributions to paybill number 672672 “to help teachers meet the cost of their strike against an oppressive government.”
“The teachers, like most Kenyans have lost patience with a small clique that says the economy is booming, that the times are great, the salaries are good and the government is doing a great job. We must stand with the teachers against a government thriving on lies and theft,” Mr Odinga said.