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Victims of botched Uasin Gishu overseas programme ask Ruto to help them get refunds

Students and parents who lost hundreds of thousands of shillings in the botched Uasin Gishu County government’s overseas program have again appealed to President William Ruto to not only aid them in recovering their funds but also punish those responsible.

The program sought to have a number of students in the county seek education in Finland and Canada.

Most of them paid the cash but were never airlifted to begin the studies.

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In an open letter to the Head of State, the 179 students regretted that their efforts to seek compensation from the county government had so far proved futile, leaving them with no other option.

“Mr. President, we seek and urge your swift intervention to ensure the county government of Uasin Gishu refunds money to the students to allow us to once again begin working towards our dreams and take advantage of the local scholarships Your Excellency graciously offered us,” part of the letter by the students reads.

The victims claimed the county leadership led by Governor Jonathan Bii Chelilim and his deputy John Barorot, together with Senator Jackson Mandago, had been leading them around in circles when it came to securing the refunds.

“They (the leaders) have taken this a notch higher and are now lying to the public that they are sorting out our issues and that we should be patient.”

They claimed the few students who recently travelled to Finland were not part of the group demanding refunds.

The President, during a recent visit to the county to attend the Devolution Conference in September 2023, warned those who misused the funds would be required to pay it back.

This is yet to happen.

“As a matter of fact, they have now taken to chest-thumping and threatening the most vocal students in a bid to silence them. This begs the question, where are you? Why have they refused to listen to you? Why are the hustlers being threatened for standing up for their rights? Where are we headed as your home county?

The students said some of them now have to work odd jobs away from their qualifications in order to raise the money they paid for the program.

“Our parents sold their assets such as land and livestock. We held harambees (fundraisers) in our villages and others even secured loans in order to get funds for this program. Now parents are paying for loans while their children are at home with nowhere else to turn for help.”