'Dishi na Kaunti': Sakaja's school feeding project runs into trouble

On August 6 the county announced that 10 kitchens were ready in a programme aimed at feeding 250,000 pupils in the city.

But it is now emerging the county could be under pressure to deliver the initiative that officially started on August 28 when schools reopened for third term.

Some city residents raised concerns over the viability of feeding programme, claiming that some schools went without food on Monday --one of them being Tumaini Primary School.

It was also anticipated that the county would roll out the second phase of the programme on September 18 as earlier stated but there was no communication from City Hall.

On Tuesday, the county admitted that there are only two reliable kitchens that are being relied on to feed 45 schools in the city.

"At the moment we are in the process of completing the 10 kitchens that will serve about 10,000 meals a day distributed to the schools that are in the programme," Health Executive Suzanne Silantoi explained.

She added, "We are currently using two kitchens, the third should come up soon. We are rolling in phases because we are picking up lessons on the way,"

In the first phase, the county says, it started with 45 schools which covers 80,000 children across ECD and primary schools.

"A lot of these things are taken out of context and can always be politicised. There is no gap in terms of feeding," she explained during the inspection of the programme at Olympic Primary in Kibra.

The executive explained that for all the schools where the programme has not started, the county has communicated to them and has been told not to stop any existing feeding programme.

The second phase, she said, will have 190,000 children in 164 schools and the final phase will cover all the schools which are 235 primaries and ECDs in Nairobi.

She said in the past feeding programs the parents were paying up to Sh60 but the county has reduced the cost of food through the use of central kitchens.

Meanwhile, some Nairobi MCAs yesterday defended the school feeding programme rolled out by Sakaja, saying it had led to an increase in school enrollment and retention.

The MCAs drawn from Kenya Kwanza took issue with politicians trying to sabotage the programme by creating propaganda that the food was unhygienic. The MCAs said the programme targets more than four million children and will not allow anybody to sabotage the plan.

Led by Clay City MCA Mwaura Samora, the leaders told Sakaja's rivals to wait to face him at the ballot in the next election.

"Some politicians have been meeting to scheme how to disrupt the school feeding programme. We are telling them, please do not interfere with the children," Samora said.

It followed a social media post by Sakaja that rivals met to plan to harm children in the school feeding programme.

"Meeting at Asmara planning to harm children in the school feeding program.... leave the children out of this. I'll face you in 2027. Don't poison children for your political goals. And you can't say it's their parents cooking," said the governor.

Kayole Central MCA Jeremiah Themendu claimed cartels who used to interfere with tenders at City Hall were out to sabotage Sakaja's development programmes.

"We are not going to accept their scheme," he said.