By The Weekly Vision
A vicious struggle to control the budget set aside for Nairobi’s school feeding programme dubbed Dishi Na County has seen two County Executive Committee Members elbowing each other to take charge. The Ksh. 136 Million a month feeding programme which was recently launched by Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja started facing challenges even before the budget was passed.
Last week a former CEC for Education under former Governor Mike Sonko Janet Ouko threatened to sue Governor Sakaja claiming that the money set aside for the programme should have been used to build more classrooms and schools as this would ease congestion and help the underserved. She termed the project as a misplaced priority questioning why such a huge amount was being wasted.
But even as Governor Sakaja prepares for a court battle against Janet Ouko, sources divulged that two CECs have been fighting over the control of the funds. According to well-placed sources, the programme was originally under the Health sector headed by Dr Anastasia Mutethya Nyalita. She was in the forefront during the initial stages but the program has now been moved to the Inclusivity, Public Participation and Citizen Engagement sector headed by CEC Susan Silantoi.
It is said that Silantoi convinced Governor Sakaja to place the programme under her docket to the chagrin of Anastasia Nyalita who sources say has not taken the changes kindly. Silantoi claimed that a feeding programme cannot be put under the health docket and that it falls squarely under her docket of Inclusivity, Public Participation and Citizen Engagement.
Investigations reveal that the reason for the change of who will oversee the programme has not been made clear but sources close to Silantoi claim she has been handling the ongoing construction of feeding kitchens across the selected schools. The feeding programme is aimed at primary school children in public schools, estimated to be 250,000 and is aimed at improving the nutritional status of learners and also encouraging students to attend school, which will lead to increased enrolment, performance and progression to higher levels of education. While introducing the programme, governor Sakaja cited urban poverty among Nairobi residents as the root cause of low enrolment in public schools, a problem he has vowed to put an end to.
Janet Ouko’s plans to stop the programme, sources say, could be her revenge mission against Governor Skaja after she was left out of the list of appointees as either CEC or Chief Officer. However, reports indicate that the governor was hesitant in hiring her after she testified against her boss Mike Sonko during an impeachment motion in the Senate.
Another source claimed that the governor did not want to engage officers with a tainted image or those with pending corruption cases, sources allege that could be under investigation over alleged corrupt deals during her tenure by officers from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission alongside her Director Ruth Owuor. The two, according to a report by the Auditor General for the year 2020/2021 are said to have made fictitious payments on the purchase of balls and laptops for the education sector.
According to the report, records indicated that local purchase orders totalling Ksh. 15,318,000 were issued, whereas Authority-to-Incur-Expenditure (AIE) amounted to Ksh. 9,250,000 resulting in unauthorized over-expenditure of Ksh. 6,068,000. On the other hand, Ruth Owuor is also accused of messing up the issuance of executive bursaries.