Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja recently launched a school feeding program that he claims will benefit at least 250,000 learners in public primary schools and early childhood development centers.
The program, dubbed “Dishi na County”, will cost Sh1.2 billion annually and will require parents to pay Sh5 for each learner daily, while the county government will cater for the other costs.
But sources close to City Hall have revealed that the program is riddled with corruption and fraud and that it will be used to siphon public funds ahead of the 2024 general elections.
According to the sources, the program has already registered ghost learners who are feeding on taxpayers’ money.
The sources also allege that the contractors who are building the central kitchens in 10 sub-counties are cronies of the governor and have inflated the costs of construction.
“The program is a sham. It’s a way for the governor and his allies to steal public money and enrich themselves. They have registered ghost learners who don’t exist, but they are getting paid for them,” a source informed this blog’s Chief Editor Cyprian Nyakundi.
“They have also inflated the costs of building the kitchens and hired their cronies to do the work.”
That is not all.
This blog is reliably informed that the program is not based on an accurate needs assessment or feasibility study and, therefore, might not achieve its stated objectives of improving the nutritional status and school attendance of the learners.
“They are just copying what the president is doing, but they are doing it badly and dishonestly. They don’t care about the children or their education. They only care about their own pockets,” the source added.
The governor showed his emotional side as he spoke about the program, breaking into tears on Tuesday as he addressed a crowd in Roysambu, but could these have been crocodile tears?
As the program is set to start in a few weeks, many questions remain unanswered.
How will the county government ensure accountability and transparency in the program?
How will the parents and teachers monitor the quality and quantity of the meals?
How will the ghost learners be identified and eliminated?
And most importantly, how will the program impact the lives and education of the real learners?
These are some of the issues that Governor Sakaja will have to address if he wants to convince the public that his program is not a scam but a genuine service to the children of Nairobi.