It seems like Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has hit a little roadblock. The High Court has suspended the implementation of his ambitious school feeding program, ‘Dishi na County’. Ouch! But hey, let’s dive into the details and see what’s cooking.
The petitioner, Tunza Mtoto Coalition, took their case to court, arguing that it’s not within the mandate of a devolved unit to handle such matters. And it looks like Lady Justice M Thande agreed with their argument. On Friday, she issued conservatory orders, putting a temporary halt to the planned program that was expected to cost taxpayers a whopping Sh1.2 billion. Talk about a big chunk of change!
But fear not, my friends. This is just a temporary setback. The matter will be mentioned in court on July 27, 2023, and we’ll see how things unfold from there. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the petitioner’s argument.
Janet Muthoni Ouko, the Executive Director of Tunza Mtoto Coalition, believes that the formulation and implementation of policies regarding basic education should be the responsibility of the national government. She claims that no legal notice was ever published authorizing the transfer of powers and functions from the national government to the County Government.
According to the petition, this lack of authorization makes the launch of the ‘Dishi na County’ program illegal, unconstitutional, and a violation of various articles in the Constitution. It’s a serious allegation, and it seems like the court wants to delve deeper into this matter before allowing the program to proceed.
But let’s not forget the vision behind Sakaja’s school feeding program. He aims to provide free meals to school children in public schools and Early Childhood Development Centers (ECDEs) within Nairobi. And the cherry on top? It would only cost a mere Sh5 per child in the next financial year, 2023-24. Now that’s a noble cause!
To make this vision a reality, groundbreaking ceremonies have already taken place in 10 sub-counties across Nairobi. Construction of central kitchens is underway, and it’s expected to take around 10 weeks to complete. Can you imagine the delicious aroma of nutritious hot meals wafting through those kitchens? It’s enough to make anyone’s stomach growl in anticipation!
The selected sub-counties include Dagoretti North, Embakasi Central, Embakasi South, Kasarani, Kibra, Makadara, Starehe, Roysambu, Ruaraka, and Westlands. These kitchens will play a crucial role in providing daily nutritionally balanced meals to children in public primary schools and ECDEs.
Governor Sakaja’s determination to ensure that every child receives a hot meal is commendable. Despite this temporary setback, he remains committed to his vision. We’ll have to wait and see how the court proceedings unfold and whether Sakaja’s school feeding program gets the green light to continue.
In the meantime, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that the legal hurdles can be overcome. Because, let’s be honest, providing nutritious meals to our young learners is a step towards a brighter and healthier future for Nairobi’s children.