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This week I came across a thesis titled "CAUSES OF PERSISTENT RURAL POVERTY IN THIKA DISTRICT". The thesis was submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the Degree of Doctor of philosophy of Rhodes University by Felistus Kinuna Kinyanjui.

The study investigates the causes of poverty in thika district over a period of nearly 50 years (1953-2000). Felistus in her study traces the dynamics of poverty to the Geography, history and Politics of Thika District. I recommend that you search for the thesis and read.

I want to centre around the dynamics of politics on education. Thika district was curved out of Kiambu District in 1994, and before the electoral boundaries done before the 2013 elections, Thika town was part of the larger Juja Constituency. George Muhoho served as the MP from 1983 until the start of multiparty in the early 90s.

Stephen Ndichu, took over from Muhoho and served for two terms until 2002. Hon. William Kabogo won the elections of 2002 and served at a time when the CDF act was enacted in parliament and was implemented. This was the first time development resources were getting devolved at constituency level, reducing the powers provincial administration had over development resources.

I will only confine myself to the period 2002-2020. With CDF funds Hon. William Kabogo was able to among others implement the umeme pamoja jointly with Kenya Power, a number of police posts including the Ndururumo Police Post in Thika. Piping of water to Witeithie from Thika water supply among others developments.

George Thuo was elected in 2007 and served until 2010 when his election was nullified by high Court through a petition filed by Hon. William Kabogo. But George Thuo gave Education in Thika a lot of seriousness. It was during his time when the government stimulus programme touching on key sectors was introduced and a girls secondary school was proposed at Karibaribi in Thika.

But No leader in the recent past has recognised the important role education plays in poverty reduction, than Hon. Patrick Wainaina. He is serving as the second MP since the creation of  Thika Town Constituency.

One of the reasons identified as factor in a recent study on education on the migration of students from public schools to private has been the dilapidated and aged school infrastructure in public primary schools.

Some of these schools in Thika had been featured in the National media from as early as 2014, among these schools were Kiboko (Heshima) Primary where TV footage showed pupils sitting on stones while trying to concentrate on learning in class without desks and an almost falling ceiling.

The other school was Kianjau primary near the slums of Kiandutu. Kenyatta primary school was another one. The school had never seen a coat of paint since it was constructed in the early 70s.

Within two and half years the stories in these schools and others in Thika are different. These schools now have an infrastructure better than most private institutions. Primary education is at the centre of the foundation of every society, this is where children are nurtured and allowed to dream. Dreams that will be the realisation of a better tomorrow.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) uses several criteria to measure poverty, they include; life expectancy, child mortality as well as access to education. Education reduces powerlessness.

By investing in and rehabilitating infrastructure in public primary schools, and making them habitable the Constituency leadership has reduced inequalities in education. And as a resident of the town who went through public schooling both in Primary and secondary schools, I can only urge them on.

Thank you for understanding the connection between politics, educational development and poverty.

Juma Hemedi

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