More than meets the eye on burning of schools

One of the many schools that have gone up in flames. Photo Courtesy
One of the many schools that have gone up in flames. Photo Courtesy

I strongly believe that there are powerful external forces behind the current wave of school fires.
I can speak with some level of authority because between 2010 and 2011 I was contracted by the British Government, through the Department of International Development (DFID) to set up a national system that would be used to monitor the use of Free Primary Education Funds (FPE).

That is when I came face to face with faceless cartels that work within the lucrative multibillion education sector.
Immediately I won the bid- after a stiff competition that had two international firms I faced extreme resistance- apparently I was an outsider, and an unknown figure.

I was forced to get a personal recommendation from a CEO of a Multi National Company. Luckily for me- Joe Joseph Mucheru, then the Boss at Google Sub Sahara came to my rescue and wrote a personal recommendation
The British Government decided to set up accountability systems to monitor the use of FPE funds after an Audit revealed massive theft of money in both Primary and Secondary Schools.

Since the British Aid formed the bulk of the billions that were stolen- they stopped all disbursement and instead, decided to pump in millions in setting up systems that would make it hard to steal any money.
I was assigned to work with then Education PS, Prof James Ole Kiyiapi and Education Secretary Prof Godia.

I thought that since the top Ministry officials were all over the press condemning the theft of money at the school level. I would be given 100 percent support by Officials at the Headquarters, and Provincial heads.

This was due to the fact that the Kenyan Government was only expected to facilitate the setting up of the system and the British Government was to pay 100 percent of the cost of setting up the system.

I was 100 percent wrong. All top officials right from Jogoo House, to the provincial HQ and District HQ simply refused to Co-operate.

Head Teachers refused to co-operate, Text Book Suppliers refused to help. I tried in vain to have Ole Kiyiapi give orders for co-operation.

I camped at Prof Godia’s office for several days- and was only given a five minute meeting.
After several months of trying to set up- Prof Kiyiapi wrote to the DFID that the Government of not need the British Government help in setting up accountability and money flow monitoring systems According to him- they were satisfied with the status quo.
From basic observation- there are major issues in the education sector.

There are cartels that benefit from money trails in the sector. No single person was punished for misusing the FPE funds.

I also observed that there are very close contacts between the HQ top officials and the schools and suppliers.

In other words- people have set up very closed and efficient systems of fleecing public funds- and it runs from HQ to the schools.
From basic observation- there are major issues in the education sector.

There are cartels that benefit from money trails in the sector.

No single person was punished for misusing the FPE funds.

I also observed that there are very close contacts between the HQ top officials and the schools and suppliers.

In other words- people have set up very closed and efficient systems of fleecing public funds- and it runs from HQ to the schools.

When I saw Dr Matiang’i moving in to deal with Cartels- I knew that he would face real fire.

The rot in the education sector cannot be tackled by a one man army.

The people the CS expects to help him root out the vice in the sector are the major beneficiaries.

Apparently, the Cartels had diversified to exam buying.
the CS needs support- and it is not going to be easy. Dismantling a cartel that has existed for decades is not going to be easy. Burning schools may be their way of triggering the sacking of the CS.

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