House team warns of school food riots

A parliamentary committee has warned that empty food stores in schools could spark unrest and put the lives of teachers in danger.

As a result, the House team on Education is pushing the government to release funds for free primary and secondary education, saying boarding schools needed the money urgently as they faced food shortages.

The committee chaired by Mosop MP David Koech asked the government to release maize in the Strategic Grain Reserve to schools to avert a crisis.

“We are telling the government not to put the lives of teachers and principals at risk. There is nothing worse than lack of food in schools,” said Migori MP John Pesa, a member of the committee.
Education permanent secretary James ole Kiyiapi has said the government will release the free education funds this week.

Mr Koech said at Parliament Buildings yesterday that the government should make an announcement on when it would release the money, instead of “making empty promises”.

“The minister, PS and other officials should say exactly when the money will be disbursed.” Mr Pesa said funds should be released now to avoid disrupting mock examinations.

But for some schools, the issue is not a question of funds but where they can buy the food.

The committee opposed a decision to allow importation of GMO maize, saying schools may be turned into dumping grounds for the grain.

Mr Koech said the Biosafety Act provided clear guidelines on GMOs and the relevant authority was yet to be set up to ensure safety guidelines are followed.

“We don’t want GMOs as we don’t want schools to be dumping grounds,” he said.

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