Fact-check: Outgoing Kesses MP Swarup Mishra has not withdrawn scholarships

Fact Check
Outgoing Kesses MP Swarup Mishra. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Outgoing Kesses MP Swarup Mishra alias Kiprop trended for the better of Friday after reports of him withdrawing academic scholarships for over 300 students emerged.

Several social media pages, particularly Facebook and Twitter, were awash with reports that the outgoing parliamentarian had abruptly ended sponsorship of the students studying in local and international colleges and universities.

For instance, Kenya Hustler Nation wrote: “Former Kesses MP Dr Mishra Kiprop drops 300 students whom he has sponsored their education scholarships from own pocket after losing in Aug 2022 general elections to a UDA candidate. The former legislator is also set to collect back hundreds of dairy cows and motorcycles, which he had previously donated to Kesses constituency residents.”

But a fact-check established that none of the students sponsored by Dr Mishra was still studying in any of the local and international colleges and universities.

Daisy Kosgei, who studied electrical engineering at Eldoret National Polytechnic under the Dr Mishra academic scholarships, more than 600 students who had been admitted to the institution had completed their studies.

“I was among the last group of students sponsored by Dr Mishra. I can confirm that all of us graduated. I thank the outgoing MP for his support. I am now self-employed courtesy of his support,” Ms Kosgei said.

When contacted, Mishra said the social media reports were fake. He said the issue would be clarified by his Personal Assistant.

Some of the messages doing rounds on social media. The allegations have been flagged as false. [Courtesy: Twitter & Whatsapp] 

Dr Mishra, who defended his Kesses MP seat as an Independent Candidate, lost it to Julius Ruto, a former Uasin Gishu County finance executive.

Through his Personal Assistant Geoffrey Kiptanui, Mishra said all the students he has been sponsoring with his own money have completed their studies.

Mr Kiptanui said Dr Mishra stopped sponsoring students soon after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and that beneficiaries of the sponsorship programme completed their studies after learning resumed.

He said more than 2,800 students were enrolled for the academic sponsorships, which saw 80 of the total number secure scholarships in India and Japan.

“All initiatives started by Dr Mishra had been envisaged to complete within five years because the MP did not want to pass any burden to the incoming lawmaker. If we were to withdraw sponsorships, we would have started with over 2,000 cows and equipment donated by Dr Mishra,” Mr Kiptanui explained.

He said cheques for students who had been listed for the Kesses National Government Constituency Development Fund (CDF) are being issued to respective schools.

“Mishra spent more than Sh800 million in academic sponsorships in the last five years. He has used a further Sh200 million in paying medical bills for patients from the constituency.

“A number of patients from Kesses are still undergoing free dialysis at Mediheal Hospital, and this will not stop because Mishra lost an election,” Kiptanui said.

Apart from the academic sponsorships, the outgoing MP also donated public address systems, generators, grass cutters, cybercafé equipment as well as fertilizer and seeds to Kesses residents, the personal assistant reported.

While responding to a tweet, Dr Mishra described the news as “utterly incorrect and in bad taste.”