Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino now says he will be seeking a court injunction barring the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) from publishing names and photos of defaulters in the local dailies.
The statement comes following public uproar over the 30-day notice issued Monday by HELB to Kenyans to service their loans otherwise they would be named and shamed and legal action instituted against them.
However, speaking during an interview with KTN News, Mr. Owino dismissed the notice saying publishing the names and photos of Kenyans in newspapers would be a breach of their right to privacy.
The youthful MP also called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to write off the HELB loans due to the state of joblessness among the youth in the country.
“In my own thinking, the loan should not be paid because education is a fundamental human right as envisaged in the Constitution. The government has a right to educate its citizens,” said Mr. Owino.
“It is a breach of the privacy of Kenyan citizens to publish their names on the newspaper. I have already spoken to lawyers who are going to file an injunction to ensure that HELB will not publish the names and photos of defaulters because it is not their mistake not to pay the loan.”
The vocal MP further stated that he was also a beneficiary of the HELB loan while in the university but that “I will not pay” because “HELB is joking around with Kenyans.”
HELB on Monday stated that at least 85,000 Kenyans have failed to service a loan of Ksh.50 billion issued since 1975.
“HELB wishes to notify the general public and loan defaulters that the HELB student loan is a government debt which should be repaid as per the terms and conditions on which it was advanced,” read the notice.
“However, some beneficiaries who are in default have not responded to previous communication addressed to them yet the funds received from loan repayment are used to support the current needy students therefore sustained default hinders funding of other deserving Kenyan youth.”