Taking from the children

Kenya and those in authority sunk to a new all time low last week when it was revealed that education ministry officials and school administrators took for themselves what was meant for the betterment of the countries next generations.
This story truly came to the public's attention on December 11, when Britain's Department for International Development announced suspension of payments to the Ministry of Education, after the discovery that more than $1 million had been stolen from the Kenyan Free Primary Education Program.
The free primary education programme was a key campaign promise in NARC's 2002 election victory. The programme went underway in earnest in January the following year.
The program gave more than 7.5 million previously uneducated children the chance for a brighter future.
Despite facing many challenges at the start including; too many children per classroom and a lack of teachers, the program was a success. It served to lighten the financial burden felt by many parents and eliminated the stumbling block to the education of many children. The scheme also served to increase litreacy rates around the country to 74%. It also gave us Kimani Marugi: the oldest man to enter primary school, and a source of national pride.
But just last week all these good deeds were erased in one felled swoop as it came to light that $1.3 million of the taxpayers hard-earned money had vanished by way of false payment claims, fictitious workshops and bizarre spending i.e. the 1.5 million set aside for computers missing at a Nairobi school which Audits then revealed that this and other accounts set aside for books and computers were missing.
Following the revelation there have been wide spread calls for the resignation of education minister Sam Ongeri and his P.S.
But as has become the norm P.S Karega Mutahi has vowed not to bow to pressure and call it quits. A defiant Mutahi declared that there's 'nothing wrong with favouring one's own district schools' he added that the scam is 'not the responsibility of the director, P.S, E.S or accounts'
He then went on to ask the gathered journalists if 'human error' or 'confusion in entering two accounts of money into one' can be 'theft'
So once again - dare I say - as it has always been, Kenya's hard working parents and their children- hungry and thirsting for knowledge - will lose out as the scandal could affect one million school children and their families' country wide.


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