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Sakaja’s ‘Dishi’ programme challenged in court

Governor Johnson Sakaja’s has been taken to court over the Sh1.2 billion school feeding programme.

The programme, dubbed ‘Dishi Na County’, which aims to feed some 250,000 children enrolled in public primary schools in Nairobi County, has been challenged by former County Education Committee Member, Janet Muthoni Ouko.

Through High Court advocate Maureen Nasimiyu, Ms Ouko has petitioned that the programme should be under the Kenyan government.

She argues that the programme is illegal and violated Articles 185(2), 186(1) and 187(2) of the Constitution because there was no Deed of Transfer signed between the national government and the county government authorising the transfer of the said functions.

“The actions of the Respondents are illegal and unconstitutional because the function of formulating and implementing policies and programs with respect to primary schools is performed by the National Government and as such the actions were taken and continue to be taken in the absence of jurisdiction and thus ultra vires,” part of the petition reads.

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Further, Ms Ouko said Governor Sakaja’s illegitimate exercise of power could lead to the loss of public resources which are being channeled towards sustaining the illogical, unsustainable and unconstitutional programme.

School feeding was among the areas of priority in Sakaja’s manifesto as a way of boosting enrolment in public schools, which he said had been affected by urban poverty.

The governor was joined by President William Ruto early this month to launch construction of the first-ten kitchens which will be used by August to feed students.

According Ms Ouko’s petition, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu met with Head Teachers drawn from all Primary Schools on July 12th for a briefing on the school feeding programme, an indication that the plan should be ran by the government, and not counties.

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The petition was received by the court and will be mentioned on July 27th.

Recently, the governor said anyone who would oppose the programme would be doing injustice to the thousands of students who are attending schools without a meal.

Ms Ouko is familiar name when it comes to the matters of education rights advocacy in the country. She heads the Elimu Yetu Coalition which represents the national civil society education movement in the country.

During his tenure, former Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero appointed Ms Ouko Vice Chair to the task force to improve performance of public schools in Nairobi County. Later in 2017, former Governor Mike Sonko picked her as Education CEC.

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