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Legal Framework Regarding the Right to Education in Kenya

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By Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD (Leading Environmental Law Scholar, Policy Advisor, Natural Resources Lawyer and Dispute Resolution Expert from Kenya), Winner of Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021, ADR Publication of the Year 2021 and CIArb (Kenya) Lifetime Achievement Award 2021*

The realization of the right to education in Kenya is enshrined in the Constitution and provided for by various of the legislations which seek to make education for all a reality. The laws below provide for the delivery, quality, and relevance of the education systems in Kenya.

Constitution of Kenya, 2010

In line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (the provision of quality education and Sustainable Development) and Goal 16 (Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels) the constitution of Kenya provides for the right of education to all children in and including the youth. Article 53 of the constitution of Kenya 2010 provides for the rights of children to the effect that every child has a right to free and compulsory basic education. Article 54 of the Constitution guarantees that a person with any disability is entitled to…access educational institutions and facilities for persons with disabilities that are integrated into society to the extent compatible with the interests of the person.

In Article 56, the Constitution in also secures the rights of the minorities and marginalized groups in society by guaranteeing that the State shall put in place affirmative action programmes designed to ensure that minorities and marginalized groups, inter alia, are provided special opportunities in educational and economic fields. It has been argued that the African continent’s youthful population presents a powerful opportunity for accelerated economic growth and innovation while other world regions face an aging population with subsequent issues such as high health costs for elderly care and high demand for skilled and qualified labour. However, the same demographic group also presents economic and social challenges, as well as implications for peace and security.

By providing for the right of education to the youth, the Constitution envisions the provision of quality higher education to the youth considering that most, if not all, of the students learning at the tertiary institutions, are of the youth age bracket. The Constitution states that the state shall take measures, including affirmative action programmes, to ensure that the youth access relevant education and training and have opportunities to associate, be represented, and participate in political, social, economic, and other spheres of life. Through this, it is evident that the Government of Kenya has adopted the provision of education as the main pillar in the national development agenda. All that is required is the necessary funding and political goodwill. Regarding the elderly in society, the Constitution in Article 57 provides that the State shall take measures to ensure the rights of older persons— fully participate in the affairs of society; and pursue their personal development.

Basic Education Act, 2013

The Basic Education Act, 2013 was enacted to give effect to Article 53 of the Constitution and other enabling provisions; to promote and regulate free and compulsory basic education; to provide for accreditation, registration, governance, and management of institutions of basic education; to provide for the establishment of the National Education Board, the Education Standards and Quality Assurance Commission, and the County Education Board and for connected purposes. The Act establishes a National Education Board and a County Education Board for every county all of which are to facilitate close working relations between the National and County governments in discharging their mandates towards the realization of the right to free and compulsory basic education for all. Notably, the Act not only provides for adequate structures and government obligations towards the provision of the right to education but also makes provisions for different forms of education targeting different groups of learners and their needs. The Act mainly requires adequate funding and goodwill in its implementation.

The National Government is bound, through the Cabinet Secretary: provide free compulsory basic education to every child; ensure compulsory admission and attendance of children of compulsory school age at school or an institution offering basic education; ensure that children belonging to marginalized, vulnerable or disadvantaged groups are not discriminated against and prevented from pursuing and completing basic education; provide human resource including adequate teaching and non-teaching staff according to the prescribed staffing norms; provide infrastructure including schools, learning and teaching equipment and appropriate financial resources; ensure quality basic education conforming to the set standards and norms; provide special education and training facilities for talented and gifted pupils and pupils with disabilities; ensure compulsory admission, attendance and completion of basic education by every pupil; monitor functioning of schools; advise the national government on financing of infrastructure development for basic education; and provide free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels to every girl child registered and enrolled in a public basic education institution who has reached puberty and provide a safe and environmentally sound mechanism for disposal of the sanitary towels.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act, 2013

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act, 2013 was enacted to provide for the establishment of a technical and vocational education and training system; to provide for the governance and management of institutions offering technical and vocational education and training; to provide for coordinated assessment, examination, and certification; to institute a mechanism for promoting access and equity in training; to assure standards, quality, and relevance; and for connected purposes. In the discharge of its functions and exercise of their powers under this Act, the implementing authorities are to be guided by following principles: training shall be availed to all qualified Kenyans without discrimination; there shall be instituted appropriate mechanisms to promote access, equity, quality and relevance in training to ensure adequate human capital for economic, social and political development.

Further, the training programmes are to take into account—(i) the educational, cultural and social-economic background of the people; (ii) the technical and professional skills, knowledge and levels of qualification needed in the various sectors of the economy and the technological and structural changes to be expected; (iii) the trends towards integration of information and communication technologies to multiply access and improve training capacity, delivery modes and life-long employability of graduates; (iv) the employment opportunities, occupational standards and development prospects at the international, national, regional and local levels; and(v) the protection of the environment and the common heritage of the country. The Act prohibits discrimination on grounds of race, colour, gender, religion, national or social origin, political or other opinions, economic status, or any other ground save as provided under this Act.

Teachers Service Commission Act, 2012

The Teachers Service Commission Act, 2012 as enacted to make further provision for the Teachers Service Commission established under Article 237 of the Constitution, its composition; functions and powers; the qualifications and procedure for appointment of members; and connected purposes. In addition to the functions set out in Article 237 of the Constitution, the Commission has power to: formulate policies to achieve its mandate; provide strategic direction, leadership, and oversight to the secretariat; ensure that teachers comply with the teaching standards prescribed by the Commission under this Act; manage the payroll of teachers in its employment; facilitate career progression and professional development for teachers in the teaching service including the appointment of head teachers and principals; monitor the conduct and performance of teachers in the teaching service; and do all such other things as may be necessary for the effective discharge of its functions and the exercise of its powers.

Higher Education Loans Board Act, 1995

The Higher Education Loans Board Act, 1995 was enacted to provide for the establishment of a Board for the management of a Fund to be used for granting loans to assist Kenyan students to obtain higher education at recognized institutions within and outside Kenya and for matters incidental thereto and connected therewith. “Higher education” under the Act means any course of education offered by an institution above the standard of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education or any equivalent certificate approved by the Board.

*This is article is an extract from an article by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD, Kenya’s ADR Practitioner of the Year 2021 (Nairobi Legal Awards) and Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (CIArb Kenya): Muigua, K., “Towards Inclusive and Quality Education as a Tool for Empowerment in Kenya,” Available at: http://kmco.co.ke/wp-content/uploads/ 2020/12/ Towards-Inclusive-and-Quality-Education-as-a-Tool-for-Empowerment-in-Kenya-Kariuki-Muigua-Dec-2020.pdf. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is Kenya’s foremost Environmental Law and Natural Resources Lawyer and Scholar, Sustainable Development Advocate and Conflict Management Expert. Dr. Kariuki Muigua is a Senior Lecturer of Environmental Law and Dispute resolution at the University of Nairobi School of Law and The Center for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy (CASELAP). He has published numerous books and articles on Environmental Law, Environmental Justice Conflict Management, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Sustainable Development. Dr. Muigua is also a Chartered Arbitrator, an Accredited Mediator, the Africa Trustee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Managing Partner of Kariuki Muigua & Co. Advocates. Dr. Muigua is recognized as one of the leading lawyers and dispute resolution experts by the Chambers Global Guide 2021. 

References

Basic Education Act, No 14 of 2013, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Constitution of Kenya, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi (2010).

Higher Education Loans Board Act, No. 3 of 1995, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Teachers Service Commission Act, No. 20 of 2012, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act, No. 29 of 2013, Laws of Kenya, Government Printer, Nairobi.

SDG 4 Targets 4.1-4.7(a)(b)(c).

UNESCO, ‘The Right to Education – Law and Policy Review Guidelines’ (UNESCO, 28 July 2014),5 https://en.unesco.org/news/right-education-law-and-policy-review-guidelines (Accessed 06/12/2021).

UN Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, OSAA ‘Youth Empowerment,’ https://www.un.org/en/africa/osaa/peace/youth.shtml, (Accessed 06/12/2021).

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Former KCB Company Secretary Sues Over Unlawful Dismissal

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Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania who has sued the Bank for Unlawful Dismissal

Former KCB Group Company Secretary Joseph Kamau Kania has sued the lender seeking reinstatement or be compensated for illegal sacking almost three years ago. Lawyer Kania was the KCB Group company secretary until restructuring of the lender in 2021 that saw some senior executives dropped.

Through the firm of Senior Counsel Wilfred Nderitu, Kamau wants the court to order KCB Group to unconditionally reinstate him to employment without altering any of the contractual terms until his retirement in December 2025.

In his court documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court, the career law banker seeks the court to declare the reorganization of the company structure a nullity and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution. He further wants the court to declare that the position of Group Company Secretary did not at any time cease to exist within the KCB Group structure.

He further urged the Employment Court to declare that the recruitment and appointment of Bonnie Okumu, his former assistant, as the Group Company Secretary, in relation to the contemporaneous termination of his employment, was unprocedural, insufficient and inappropriate to infer a lawful termination of his employment.

“A declaration that the factual and legal circumstances of the Petitioner’s termination of employment were insufficient and inappropriate to infer a redundancy against him, and that any redundancy declared by the KCB Group in relation to him was therefore null, void and of no legal effect and amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to fair labour practices as guaranteed in Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau says he was subjected to discriminatory practices by the KCB Bank Group in violation of his fundamental right to equality and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed in Article 27 of the Constitution and the termination of his employment was unfair, unjustified, illegal, null and void.

Lawyer Kamau further seeks the court to declare that the Non-Compete Clause in the 2016 Contract is unenforceable by the KCB Group as against him and is voidable by him as against the Bank ab initio, byreason of the termination of the Petitioner’s employment having been a violation of Articles 41(1) and 47(1) and (2) of the Constitution, and of the Employment Act.

He also wants the Employment Court to find that finding that KCB’s group legal representation by Messrs of Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates law firm in respect of his claim for unlawful termination of employment resulted in a clear conflict of interest by reason of the fact that a Founding and Senior Partner at the said firm lawyer Mohammed Nyaoga is also the Chairman of the CBK’s Board of Directors.

“A Declaration that the circumstances of KCB’s legal representation by Messrs. Mohammed Muigai LLP Advocates resulted in a violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to have the employment dispute decided independently and impartially, as guaranteed in Article 50(1) of the Constitution,” seeks lawyer Kamau.

Kamau is seeking damages against both KCB Group and Central Bank of Kenya jointly and severally for the violation of his constitutional and fundamental right to fair labour practices.

He wants  further wants court to declare that CBK is liable to petitioner on account of its breach of statutory duty to effectively regulate KCB Group to ensure that KCB complied with the Central Bank of Kenya Prudential Guidelines and all other Laws, Rules, Codes and Standards, and that, as an issuer of securities, it complied with capital markets legislation.

Kamau through his lawyer Nderitu told the court that he was involved in Shareholder engagement in introducing the Group aide-mémoire that significantly improved the management of the Annual General Meetings, including obtaining approval without voting through the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Kenya Commercial Bank Limited among others.

He said that during his employment at KCB Bank Kenya and with the KCB Group, he initially worked well with former KCB CEO Joseph Oigara until 2016 when the CEO allegedly started sidelining him by removing the legal function from his reporting line.

He further claims he was transferred from the Group’s offices at Kencom House to its offices Upper Hill under the guise that the Petitioner was merely to support the KCB Group Board.

He adds that at that point his roles were given to Okumu for reasons that were not related to work demands.  He stated that Oigara at one time proposed that he should leave his role in the KCB Group and go and serve as the Company Secretary of the National Bank of Kenya Limited, a subsidiary of the Group, a suggestion which he disagreed with to Oigara’s utter annoyance.

Kamau stated that his work was thenceforth unfairly discredited, leading to his being taken through a disciplinary process whose intended outcome failed miserably, and the Petitioner was vindicated.

“More specifically, the Petitioner contends that the purported creation of a new organizational structure towards the end of 2020 was in fact Oigara’s orchestration targeted to remove certain individuals by requiring them to undergo interviews in the pretext that new roles were created, and amounted to a further violation of the Petitioner’s fundamental right to fair labour practices under Article 41(1) of the Constitution,” said in his court documents.

He further adds that this sham reorganization demonstrates how the role of the KCB Group Company Secretary purportedly ceased to be and was then very briefly replaced with a new role of the KCB Group General Counsel. The role of KCB Group Company Secretary then ‘resurfaced’ immediately thereafter, in total violation of legal and regulatory requirements.

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Court of Appeal Upholds Eviction of Radcliffes from Karen Land

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Adrian Radcliffe, the Expatriate Squatter, Evicted from Karen Property by Innocent Purchaser for Value

The Court of Appeal has stayed the decision of the Environment and Land Court purporting to reinstate Adrian Radcliffe into possession of the 5.7 Acre Karen Land by Kena Properties Ltd after eviction by the lawful owners in February 2022. Adrian Radcliffe who was evicted by Kena Properties Ltd, the innocent purchaser of the Land for value.

Before his eviction, Mr. Radcliffe had been living on the land as a squatter expatriate for 33 years without paying any rent. Since he moved into the property as a tenant, he only paid deposit for the land in August 1989 despite corresponding severally with the owner of the land. His attempt to acquire the land by adverse possession claim filed in 2005 was dismissed by Court in 2011 on the basis that he has engaged with the owner of the land July 1997 and agreed to buy the land which he failed to do. The High Court [Justice Kalpana Rawal as she then was] concluded that:

“His [Mr. Adrian Radcliffe] averments that he did not have any idea of the whereabouts of the Defendant and that he could possibly be not alive, were not only very sad but mala fide in view of the correspondence on record addressed by him to the Defendant’s wife. I would thus find that the averments made by him to the contrary are untrue looking to the facts of this case.”

On 10th March 2022, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe and Family purported to obtain court orders for reinstatement into the land. However, the Court of Appeal issued an interim stay of execution of the said orders. The Court of Appeal has now granted the application of Kena Properties Ltd and stayed the execution of the Environment and Land Court Order pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.

The Court also stayed the proceedings at the Environment and Land Court on the matter during the pendency of the Appeal. In effect, the eviction orders issued by the Chief Magistrate Court for eviction of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe in favour of Kena Properties as the purchaser of the property for value were upheld and the company now enjoys unfettered ownership and possession of the suit property until the conclusion of the Appeal.

The Court of Appeal in granting the orders sought by Kena Properties Ltd concurred with Kena Properties Ltd that as the property owner it had an arguable appeal with a high probability of success which would be rendered nugatory if Adrian Radcliffe a trespasser was to resume his unlawful possession of the suit property, erect structures thereon, recklessly use or abuse the said suit property as he deems fit. In any case, that is bound to fundamentally alter the state of the suit property and render it unusable by Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner.

At the same time, the Appellate Court rubbished the argument of Adrian Radcliffe in opposition to the application for stay that he has been in occupation of the suit property for more than 30 years and that he and his family were unlawfully evicted from the suit property on 4th February, 2022. The Court also rejected Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties Ltd has no valid title to the suit property and held that as the purchaser, the company was entitled to enjoy ownership and possession of their property during the pendency of the appeal.

The Court dismissed claims of Mr. Adrian Radcliffe that Kena Properties Ltd as the property owner acquired title to the suit property illegally and unprocedurally finding to the contrary. Further, it rejected Adrian Radcliffe’s claim that Kena Properties as the purchaser cannot evict a legal occupier of a property putting paid to the claim that he was a legal occupier at the time of eviction.

As a matter of fact, Mr. Adrian Radcliffe cannot claim to be the legal occupier of the property having attempted to acquire it by adverse possession before the High Court thwarted his fraudulent scheme on 28th February 2011. Mr. Radcliffe did not appeal the 2011 High Court decision meaning it is still the law that he is not the owner of the land nor the legal occupier of the land having attempted to adversely acquire against the interests of the lawful owner who sold it to Kena Properties.

Mr. Adrian Radcliffe is a well-to-do Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) UNICEF consultant and former UN employee (who has been earning hefty House Allowance). Many have wondered why he has been defaulting in paying rent for 33 years on the prime plot of land in Karen while living large and taking his kids to most expensive schools in Kenya. No question, a local Kenyan could never have gotten away with such selfish impunity.

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Review: Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Vol. 9, No. 1

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The Journal of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development, Volume 9, Issue No. 1, which is edited by and published by Dr. Kariuki Muigua, PhD is out and stays true to the reputation of the journal in providing a platform for scholarly debate on thematic areas in the fields of Conflict Management and Sustainable Development. The current issue published in September 2022 covers diverse topics including Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in Africa; National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya; Protection of Cultural Heritage During War; The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya; Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya; Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation; Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World; Status of Participation of Women in Mediation; Business of Climate Change and Critical Analysis of World Trade Organization’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment.

Dr. Wilfred A. Mutubwa and Eunice Njeri Ng’ang’a in “Resolving Oil and Gas Disputes in an Integrating Africa: An Appraisal of the Role of Regional Arbitration Centres” explore the nature of disputes in the realm of oil and gas in Africa taking a look into the recent continental and sub-regional developments in a bid to establish regional integration. Additionally, it tests the limits of intra-African trade and dispute resolution and the imperatives for the African regional courts and arbitration centres. In “National Environment Tribunal, Sustainable Development and Access to Justice in Kenya,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua discusses the role played by the National Environment Tribunal (NET) in promoting access to justice and enhancing the principles of sustainable development in Kenya. The paper also highlights challenges facing the tribunal and proposes recommendations towards enhancing the effectiveness of the tribunal.

Dr. Kenneth Wyne Mutuma in “Protecting Cultural Heritage in Times of War: A Case for History,” argues that cultural heritage is at the heart of human existence and its preservation even in times of war is sacrosanct. It concludes that it is thus critical for states to take positive and tangible steps to ensure environmental conservation and protection during war within the ambit of the existing international legal framework. In “The Role of Water in the attainment of Sustainable Development in Kenya,” Jack Shivugu critically evaluates the role of water in the attainment of sustainable development in Kenya and argues water plays a critical role in the attainment of the sustainable development goals both in Kenya and at the global stage. The paper interrogates some of the water and Sustainable Development concerns in Kenya including water pollution, water scarcity and climate change and suggests practical ways to enhance the role of water in the Sustainable Development agenda.

Dr. Paul Ogendi in “Collective Property Rights in Human Biological Materials in Kenya,” reflects on property rights in relation to human biological materials obtained from research participants participating in genomic research. He argues that property rights are crucial in genomic research because they can help avoid exploitation or abuse of such precious material by researchers. In “Nurturing our Wetlands for Biodiversity Conservation,” Dr. Kariuki Muigua notes that Wetlands have a vital role in not just delivering ecological services to meet human needs, but also in biodiversity conservation. Wetlands are vital habitat sites for many species and a source of water, both of which contribute to biodiversity protection. The paper examines the role of wetlands in biodiversity conservation and how these wetland resources might be managed to improve biodiversity conservation.

Oseko Louis D. Obure in “Investor-State Dispute Resolution in a Fast-Paced World,” preponderance of disputes between States or States and Investors created need for a robust, effective, and efficient mechanisms not only for the resolution of these disputes but also their prevention. He notes that developing states lead in being parties to Investor-State Disputes (ISD) particularly as respondents. He proceeds to conceptualize and problematize investor-state disputes resolution in a fast-paced world. Lilian N.S. Kong’ani and Dr. Kariuki Muigua in “Status of Participation of Women in Mediation: A case Study of Development Project Conflict in Olkaria IV, Kenya” review the status of participation of women in mediation to resolve conflicts between KenGen and the community. The paper demonstrates a need for further democratization of the mediation processes to cater for more participation of women to enhance the mediation results and offer more sustainable resolutions.

Felix Otieno Odhiambo and Melinda Lorenda Mueni in “The Business of Climate Change: An Analysis of Carbon Trading in Kenya analyses the business of carbon trading in the context of Kenya’s legal framework. The article examines the legal framework that underpins climate change into the Kenyan legal system and provides an exposition of the concept of carbon trading and its various forms. Michael Okello, in “Critical Analysis of World Trade Organisation’s Most-Favored Nation (MFN) Treatment: Prospects, Challenges and Emerging Trends in the 21st Century,” highlights the rationale behind MFN treatment and also restates the vision of multilateral trade to achieve equitable and special interventions with respect to trade in goods, services and trade related intellectual property rights in the affected states.

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