The “Kumeza Mate Sio Kula Nyama” Version of Nandi County – Bursary Under Siege

State of Nandi County Education Fund
State of Nandi County Education Fund

This was a remark that was bound to be controversial. In a country perturbed with eating cartels and torn apart by corruption, the president’s reply to Raila Odinga’s critics at the veteran’s politician William Ole Ntimama’s funeral, was a clear reflection of what happens between the ruling mass and the trodden citizens; the bigwigs and the hustlers; politicians and the electorate; the rich and poor; where the latter front a lavish lifestyle and the former drool over it.

Kumeza mate sio kula nyama… endeleeni kumeza mate lakini nyama tutakula” (Salivating is not the same as eating meat… keep on salivating, but we will continue eating the meat). Whether it was a joke or a serious statement, the reality of this is going on in Kenya and its 47 counties. Devolution and vision 2030 will be a hard nut to crack if equity and equal access to resources remains imbalanced. In Nandi County for example, education bursary fund kitty was not disbursed to the needy students, since 2014 – 2015 and 2015 – 2016 Financial Years. Children from the poor families who deserved the bursaries might have dropped out of school while politicians’ kids enjoy education in high-end and expensive schools.

The reason governor Cleophas Lagat gave recently to the delayed disbursement was due to the “lack of regulation to oversee spending”. (Ref: The Standard Newspaper, 26/09/2016 page 19). Arise Nandi finds this argument absurd to delay four years without releasing the kitty while neighbouring counties are successful in funding education. Uwezo Kenya, an education research institution shows that in 2012, the average number of children out of school increased in Nandi Central and Nandi East districts. Owing to the delayed kitty since 2014, the state of education in Nandi and especially to the needy students is probably devastating. In this regard, Nandi County has contravened its County Education Fund Bill of 2016, which states

“The objectives of this Act are to establish a legal and institutional framework to facilitate —

  • Improved access to education by all residents of Nandi County by providing funds to grant bursaries and scholarships;

  • Enhanced Equity in education for all residents of Nandi County,

  • Improvement of literacy level within Nandi County; and

  • Ensuring that a specific portion of the County annual budget is devoted to the Education Fund for the purposes of this Act” (Objectives of the Act, no. 3)

 

In part four of the Bill under the Education Grants and Bursary Awards, section 19 (c) requires a public participation and since the governor announced readiness to disburse the funds, none has been held in Nandi Hills ward, signifying further delays of the bursary disbursement.

 

Senator Stephen Kipyego Sang has expressed his fears observed from his facebook post that read in part,

It is really sad that or county government has made it impossible for needy and deserving children from poor backgrounds to access education which as we all know is the greatest equalizer in life. The county Assembly through the budget has been allocating bursary for the last 3 years but the same has never been disbursed. …. Why must the communities continue to strain through harambees for issues already catered for and resources allocated to them? Why must Dr Lagat remain very insensitive to the plight of the people who faithfully voted for all of us? …. I have consistently pushed the county to release the said bursary to no avail.”… wonders Wakili Araap Sang.

 

The Kula Nyama Meza Mate has also given rise to the infamous trend of “ityakta”. This is where the people ask for a piece of steak from a politician seeking fame and votes from the electorate. He or she is asked to “release” handouts, in cash. Voters have learnt rather a painful lesson of supporting bigwigs who vanish into thin air a week after winning elections. It is now a norm that a politician seeking audience hardly assembles a crowd without parting with money or assurance of the same after the event.

 

Arise Nandi

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