High Court declines to stop Nairobi County school feeding program

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The High Court has declined to suspend Nairobi County’s Sh. 1.2 billion school feeding program which was initiated by Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja.

In her ruling on Thursday, Justice Mugure Thande said stopping the program will prejudice the children who are benefiting from the feeding program.

“Granting any conservatory orders, to suspend the program at this stage would be against the best interest of the children who are targeted to benefit from the program,” she ruled.

Tunza Mtoto Coalition executive director Janet Muthoni Ouko, whose lobby represents privately owned informal schools, had asked the Constitutional and Human Rights Court to suspend the programme claiming that the programme should be under the national government and not the county government.

The county government however opposed the suspension of the programme, arguing that the move could deny more than 250, 000 learners the opportunity to enjoy a meal a day while in school.

The programme, dubbed ‘Dishi na County’ aims at ensuring that children in public schools and Early Childhood Development Education (ECDEs) within Nairobi get free meals in the next financial year 2023-24.

The groundbreaking of the construction of central kitchens took place in 10 sub counties last month and is expected to take about 10 weeks with the first meal set to be served on the first day of the third term this year.

Sakaja has welcomed the ruling, asserting that children in Nairobi schools deserve better food.

“I thank the court for not allowing itself to be misused. I am happy that the court has refused to stop this program, “the governor remarked.

Meanwhile, Governor Sakaja and Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu recently signed a partnership deal, which saw the Ministry transferring the feeding programme to the county government.

By Thuita Jaswant

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