A faction of Nairobi County UDA MCAs has rallied to the defense of Governor Johnson Sakaja, asserting that the ongoing controversy surrounding the food program is steeped in political motivations.
Their statements were delivered at City Hall on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, where they lauded the program known as “Dishi Na County” as a transformative initiative for school-going children in Nairobi County.
“We are cognizant that the campaign against Governor Johnson Sakaja is intricately linked to the political landscape of 2027. We believe that a group of influential power players aspiring for the governor’s position, alongside vested interests seeking to maintain the status quo, are threatened by the governor’s rapid strides in development and his dismantling of entrenched systems.” Said Mutidwa MCA Martin Mwangi.
“These detractors appear to desire the government’s failure in order to pave their own path to success. One of the major advancements they seek to undermine is the ‘Dishi na County’ school feeding program, which ensures that 250,000 children across the city receive nutritious and ample meals every school day.” He continued
Susan Makugu, the Mlango Kubwa MCA, joined in the defense of Governor Sakaja, emphasizing that those engaging in political maneuvers for 2027 would face unexpected challenges.
“Numerous development projects are not only being initiated but are also being successfully completed. Those engaging in political maneuvers for 2027 should patiently await the appropriate time. As residents of the slums, the food program has genuinely supported our children’s education. ‘Dishi na County’ has revolutionized school operations and lightened the financial burden on thousands of parents,” she remarked.
These remarks followed a heated online exchange between Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and Embakasi East MP Babu Owino, which transpired on the previous Sunday. During this exchange, MP Babu Owino shifted the focus towards the Nairobi County school feeding program, asserting that the program, launched by Sakaja in August under the name ‘Dishi na County,’ had not been beneficial to Nairobi’s children.
“Each school should have well-equipped kitchens and staff. Sakaja’s 10 kitchens cannot feasibly cater to the needs of hundreds of thousands of learners in Nairobi. The kitchen-to-student ratio is impractical. However, someone who evaded formal education and is employing counterfeit academic credentials cannot grasp these straightforward facts.” Babu Owino argued.
Furthermore, the MP contended that the program, designed to provide daily meals to public primary school and Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) pupils at a nominal fee of Ksh.5 per day, should have been managed by individual schools, not the county.
Governor Sakaja, however, dismissed these claims as propaganda, asserting that, to date, at least 80,000 children have been receiving meals in the initial phase of the program.
“Resorting to propaganda tactics will not succeed, and using children as pawns in politics is unacceptable. The first phase of schools in the program has been consistently receiving their hot meals, and all headteachers have been instructed to continue their arrangements until the county signals the start of the next phase. Presently, 80,000 children are benefitting from meals at a cost of 5 Kenyan shillings during this phased implementation.” Sakaja Emphasized
“A select few are opposing our feeding program for ulterior motives. Engaging in propaganda won’t deter us, and manipulating children for political gain is reprehensible.” Governor Sakaja made the statements on X, formerly known as Twitter.
He also noted that while the program is smoothly operating across the county, “opportunistic individuals eyeing the 2027 elections” are determined to see it fail.
“They are even contemplating actions that could harm our children. Currently, they are meeting at Asmara Restaurant in Kileleshwa,” Sakaja warned.
The Nairobi County initiated the program in collaboration with the national government, requiring learners in public primary schools and Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) centers to pay a daily fee of Ksh.5 for their meals.