Fix airlift fiasco, parents ask Ruto ahead of devolution conference

Students and their parents demonstrate along Eldoret-Kiplombe road in Eldoret Uasin Gishu County over the missing of school fees and airlift money for education studies in Finland on August 9, 2023. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Parents and students affected by the troubled Uasin Gishu County overseas study have vowed to disrupt the upcoming devolution conference if their refunds are not effected.

Speaking after holding a meeting in Eldoret town, the parents said they would continue with their protests until the county refunds them the millions of money they spent on the botched study programme.

The parents argued that despite giving the leaders led by Governor Jonathan Bii, his deputy John Barorot and Senator Jackson Mandago a week to deliberate on their grievances and demands, no information was forthcoming more than seven days later.

“When we held a meeting with our leaders, they requested for a week to hold meetings and find a solution to our troubles. However, the borrowed time has elapsed, and the leaders are shunning away from facing us to deliver their feedback,” said Faith Korir, one of the affected students who were to travel to Finland.

The parents said the leaders have been sending their emissaries to request them to stop their demonstrations and that President William Ruto is committed to ensuring parents receive their refunds.

“We have been hearing stories and a lot of promises from these leaders. However, these promises are unattainable, and we are fed up. We are now issuing a 24–hour ultimatum to these leaders to refund our money, failure to which we will go back to the streets. There will be no devolution conference if we are not refunded,” Korir stated.

The parents have also called on Dr Ruto to intervene and address the challenges they are facing, adding that they are no longer interested in having their children study abroad under the county programme.

“We want to be refunded the exact amount that we paid. We do not care about meetings the county leaders have been seeking to hold with our representatives,” Japhet Too stated.

On Friday, Bii and his deputy asked the parents and students not to withdraw from the programme.

Barorot said out of the 46 students whose visas have been approved, 24 are set to travel to Laurea University while 22 are to travel to Gradia University.