Education rights specialist and activist Janet Ouko has threatened to sue Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja over the School Feeding Programme dubbed ‘Dishi na County’.
According to the activist, the funds channeled to the feeding programme should have been used to build schools to ease congestion and help the underserved.
Janet Ouko in an open letter addressed to the Nairobi Governor noted that he had misplaced priorities, further questioning 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.
Moreover, the activist stated that 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 school-going population,” Ouko 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,” she added.
According to Ouko, feeding children from public schools only means that the governor will only be feeding 11.2 per cent.
“Which begs the question, what is inclusivity?” she posed.
She further noted that out of 17 wards in Nairobi, 10 do not have a single public primary school. She gave an example of 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 stated.
The former CEC further urged the governor to use the funds to build eight schools each year spending only Sh100 million on each, instead of using the Sh1.2 billion on food.
“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.
Ouko also said she will ask the senate to intervene to ensure pro-active response to avoid 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 posed.
Meanwhile, a letter has already been written to the Controller of Budget, looking to reject county payments that are unconstitutional.