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SAY NO TO BURSARIES, Let's rethink our strategies to affordable education

By Jaymo Wa Thika

There is no politician who really loves an independent electorate, one who will never come to them for handouts or for petty assistance. Politicians thrive in deficiency and will always work behind the scenes to ensure that their electorate always have something to cry home about so that they (the politicians) will rush to them as the “saviour”.

For instance, why would government offer bursaries to poor parents instead of channeling that money directly to learning institutions and ensuring that education is absolutely free or create an entirely government scholarship programme controlled from only one source? 

To put this in a language that you can understand; This is government giving you government money (bursary) to politicians to pay government fees. It doesn’t make sense. It is just like taking your money from your right pocket and depositing it into the left pocket.

In the formative stages of Kenya's independence, schools were free. The government used to provide all learners with free textbooks, exercise books and other learning materials directly to schools under the Kenya Schools Equipment Scheme. The schools also received the necessary stationary, teaching and sports equipment from the government under the same scheme.

Most infrastructural developments, repairs and general expenses were also sponsored from government coffers, not withstanding salaries for subordinate staff who were either catered for by the national government, municipal councils or the school sponsors. 

However, during the regime change into the second presidency, policies were enacted into law to kill all that..... probably to give those in office an opportunity to dip their hands into the coffers. What followed was too much bureaucracy and confusion thus great opportunities for corruption. 

Pundits will tell you that the more money changes hands from one government department to another, the easier it gets for corrupt officials to steal this money as it becomes more difficult to trace where it got lost. 

Politicians would prefer the status quo since it benefits them politically. Yes. They would want desperate parents to throng their offices to beg for bursaries so that once given, they will go home doing the “Firirinda” dance in praise of this politician and claiming that, were it not for the politician, their children would not have gone back to school.

That is dragging our people into mental slavery. Simply infecting our people with this deadly virus known as “Politically Dependency Syndrome”.

On a different perspective, I also feel that bursaries should be done away with and instead, the government comes up with policies to economically empower its people. Instead of giving these bursaries (which in most cases only benefits those who are "connected"), why doesn't the government empower the citizens and make them economically independent and then ask them to pay for their own school fees? They say, “Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll eat for a lifetime.

But doing so is working your way to losing out on a massive gullible voting bloc. Politicians thrive from creating desperation among the masses thus bringing up a desperate society that believes politicians are gods and have answers to all their immediate problems. That is reason people adore politicians who feed them on handouts and goodies that only last for hours.

If you critically analyse the kind of programmes that politicians initiate within their jurisdictions, you will realise that most of them are skewed towards enclosing the beneficiaries into some cocoons who will "merry-go-round" the same economic status forever.  Very few politicians work on programmes that completely transform their people into full economic freedom and if they do, these programmes only benefit those very close to them, for obvious reasons, their own political expediency and not for the good of the entire society.

That is why you will see politicians using a lot of money to offer their people with free water in bowsers instead of drilling a borehole for them or connecting them with the main source of water. That is why you find politicians forming “rescue teams” to offer food donations, hearse services and so on in order to psyche them into always believing that their help would only come from that direction.

All these are schemes to enslave the masses into voting machines. Politicians only want to use people as tools to serve the achievement of their (politicians) own ends.  Politicians are there to serve their own interests, not yours. That’s the hard reality.

Politicians are happy to serve a gullible and ignorant society who easily buys into their mischievous and populist decisions just to get cheap publicity. 

Critical thinkers who question political mediocrity are branded as enemies and politicians will ensure that such people will never sit near the political table. Politicians feel so comfortable while being surrounded by their “Yes Sir” supporters who will cheer and clap for them even when they are walking naked in public.

It’s high time Kenyans woke up from this deep slumber and start redefining their own destiny and that of future generations. Luckily, the society is growing younger and more enlightened by the day thanks to the internet and we should never let such opportunities just fly away without taking advantage of them.

Let’s start to seriously vet those we entrust into leadership positions and ensure we only contract those with a vision for the good of the whole society and not just a few. Kumbuka, Msipojipanga, mtaendelea tu kupangwa.  


  1. What a brilliant insight, very true and educative my brother.truth be told

    1. Thanks for the compliments... We need as a country, a complete paradigm shift in how we do things

  2. A very provocative write up. We indeed need a mindset shift

    1. This can be a real game changer in the politics of Kenya. How can this be pushed is the issue as politicians will hear none of this. This makes a lot of sense.

  3. Absolutely correct. We can fix the issues affecting Kenyans by fixing the thinking.

    Especially Mt Kenya region, politicos in office must embrace progressive action that would catalyze economic renaissance of the regions population.

    Shun populism, shun propagations that stagnate economic growth for the people. Let’s go back and emulate Hon. George Mwicigi, Hon. Kiano, Hon. Paul Muite And very recently the trail blazer Hon. Peter Kenneth.

    These were people driven servant leaders driven by transformation/economic emancipation and growth.

    The caliber of politicos in Kenya currently is retrogressive In thinking thus arresting development. Fix the thinking of creating and accelerating dependency, fix the thinking of retaining peasants and paupers in utter dejection in order to massage your egos, fix the thinking.


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