Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati has apologised over the removal of the name of a bright, needy girl from the county’s scholarship programme, saying his team was misled to believe that her family was well-to-do.
Dinah Nyaboke, who sat her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam at Bungoma D.E.B Primary School, was set to join Moi Girls High School, Eldoret after scoring an impressive 401 marks out of a possible 500 marks.
Nyaboke was removed from the list of beneficiaries even after the team from the county had adjudged her as qualified for scholarship.
Her case has attracted the attention of many Kenyans, with Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha — who paid a full year’s school fees — as well as Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, nominated Senator Millicent Omanga, Brookside Company and many other Kenyans offering to help.
The case has also brought to the fore questions of the criteria used to select beneficiaries of the county scholarships.
But addressing journalists at his office on Thursday, Governor Wangamati termed it an error that had since been rectified.
Nyaboke, he said, had been put back in the scholarship programme.
Vigorous vetting process
"Our scholarship programme has a very vigorous vetting process that is done by a vetting team that visits every home to verify if the beneficiaries are deserving cases. My team visited Diana and her mother Priscilla Nyanchera at their home and after vetting her she was placed to be a beneficiary of the programme," the governor explained.
However, after the vetting, the county chief said, someone, whom he did not name, informed the team that Ms Nyanchera was actually a landlady and did not deserve to get the scholarship.
Ms Nyanchera, a grocer in Bungoma, says she has no idea where the story of her owning houses came from as she is struggling to pay Sh3,000 monthly rent.
“After discovering that my vetting team was duped to believe that Diana Nyaboke is not needy, we did our investigations and its true she deserves a scholarship and we have enrolled her back to it,” said Mr Wangamati.
The governor, however, refused to state the measures take to ensure such a thing does not happen again, or even what will happen to the officers who adjudged Nyaboke as undeserving of the scholarship.
Investigations by the county team, Mr Wangamati said, have now confirmed Nyanchera’s position that she is not the owner of the said houses.
Mr Wangamati asked his opponents to stop politicising the county scholarship programme
“I am asking my competitors to join me and support this noble idea but not to use small mistakes to get political mileage,” said Mr Wangamati.
On Monday, the County pumped Sh200 million towards the governor’s scholarship for 2,000 Form One students and another 1,586 continuing students in top national and extra county schools.
The education fund is aimed at supporting bright but needy students from the county to join schools of their choice.
The scholarship programme is the brainchild of Governor Wangamati, with the scheme's pioneer beneficiaries, some 500 needy students, now in Form Four in top schools including Alliance Girls and Alliance High School, Kenya High, Pangani Girls, Friends School Kamusinga and Kapsabet Boys among others.
Another 1,150 are now in Form Three and Form Two in various national and extra county schools.