Former Education CEC to Sue Sakaja Over School Feeding Program, Terming it Misappropriation
An activist has threatened to sue Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja over the School Feeding Programme, Dishi na County.
Education rights specialist Janet Ouko says the money should have been used to build schools as this would ease congestion and help the underserved.
In an open letter to Sakaja, Ouko said the governor had misplaced priorities and questioned why Sh1.2 billion should be spent annually on the project.
“We have evidence, lack of school feeding in Nairobi is not the number one reason why Nairobi children are out of school. Levies are!” she said.
Ouko said Nairobi only has 205 public primary schools and at least 3,000 non-formal schools are highly concentrated in Kibra, Mathare, Mukuru, Kibagare, Kiambiu, Maili Saba and Kawangware.
“Clearly, low-income to no-income areas where public schools are either absent or few and thus are not adequately covering the schoolgoing population,” she said.
Currently, Nairobi has space for only 28,000 children in its public ECED Centres.
The rest are attending non-formal centres or private schools, where their parents struggle with levies despite paying taxes to Nairobi county and despite their right to free and compulsory basic education, Ouko said.
“Feeding children from public schools only, therefore, means that the governor will only be feeding 11.2 per cent. Which begs the question, what is inclusivity?” she asked.
Out of 17 wards in the capital, 10 do not have a single public primary school.
These are Pipeline, Imara Daima, Ngando, Lindi, Laini Saba, Kware, Matopeni/Spring Valley, Saragombe and Lucky Summer.
“In a ward like Njiru that has only two public primary schools, there are more than 15 nonformal schools spread across the Laini Saba informal settlement,” Ouko said.
“While Jehova Jire Primary School in the neighbourhood is bursting with learners and the fact is the school cannot take up all the children from Saika, Mailisaba, Junction and Siranga.”
Instead of using the Sh1.2 billion on food, the former CEC has advised the governor to use the funds to build eight schools each year and only Sh100 million can be spent on each.
“This will help bring back more children to publicly funded education thus lending a big hand to ending the global crisis for good,” Ouko said.
Apart from seeking legal actions, Ouko had also said she would be seeking the Senate’s intervention to ensure pro-active response to avert the loss of value for money.
“We are asking the Senate, is county money to be spent at the governor’s discretion even when that discretion is clearly inconsistent with logic and the existing law,” she asked.
Also, the Nairobi county assembly shall be petitioned, especially the MCAs, whose wards have no single public primary school.
Already, a letter has been written to the Controller of Budget, requiring to reject county payments that are unconstitutional.
It cites the spending on mandates other than those given to the devolved governments by the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
But speaking in Roysambu, Sakaja told off critics over the school feeding programme.
“I know others will say primary education is not a devolved function but ECDEs are. As a governor, I cannot see children missing meals in schools and ignore,” he said.
“These children are residents of Nairobi and deserve the best.”
On the issue of lack of enough classrooms, President William Ruto pledged to construct additional 3,000 classrooms and Nairobi MCAs will add 1,500 more.
He said this will address the problem of lack of enough classrooms in schools.