A couple of things make me hate almost anything that’s relayed as news in both print and electronic media. Worst and latest among the atrocities to be meted on the ‘poor child’ were the shameless horror in which open impunity and bias was displayed during the interview by Equity bank staff and other stake holders.
It was on December 14th at Athi River CDF offices where the ugliest display of open corruption took place. Parents with their children (2017 candidates due to join form one in 2018) began to arrive at the venue as early as 7.50 A.M in the morning. The “interviewers” (read man-eaters) arrived soon after 8.00 A.M. and began short listing names of pupils who had arrived.
So as they called each pupil with their parent into the office where the panel of 9 were seated, those in the queue hoped things would run smoothly. Before noon, the number of pupils swelled although they were not as many as the previous years. Each pupil and parent entered the venue through the main CDF office entrance and came out from a different exit door. This time round, the chair of the panel (the District Education Officer) was absent.
As time went by, things seemed to slow down. It was getting late in the afternoon and those who arrived early and short listed first were not being called in. A huge-amorphous lady was now coming out via the exit door and calling specific pupils into the office for the “interview” Those in the queue noticed the unfairness and began murmuring; soon the murmurs became loud whispers. They were simply querying why those who arrived as late as 2.00 P.M were being called in to take the interview while some who arrived at 8.00 A.M were being ignored.
To add insult to injury, someone drove into the venue with three girls wearing school uniforms and went straight into the interview hall-seemingly not ‘seeing’ the presence of others. People begun to converse loudly- apparently expressing their disgust. At about 4.00 P.M, a teacher from a school I know arrived with two pupils. I told him I had been waiting from 8.00 A.M with hope of having my kid to be interviewed. He beaconed me aside and told me how naive I was to just quart there the whole day as if I didn’t know “how things are done in Kenya”
So instead of waiting or enlisting his pupils in the queue, he told me to “wait and see” how he was going to proof his words. He seemingly had organized with one or more of the panelists on how to appear at the venue as a formality just to stage-manage a purported ‘interview’ as a cover up. Believe it or not, the fellow was whisked in through the rear exit door and his two pupils were interviewed while I was still seated outside on the grass. Soon after, they came out and left boastfully, seemingly showing how foolish those of us in the queue were. So I escorted him just to share a word or two.
The teacher told me bluntly that there was no way my kid would make it to Equity’s wings to fly program unless I was ready to part with real cash (IT WAS TRUE!). For a moment, I contemplated suicide because they whole scenario blemished my attitude towards ‘Wings To Fly’ scam- permanently!
As we parted ways with my ‘privileged’ (read corrupt) teacher friend, I felt tear drops trickle down my cheeks. I hid from my kid to avoid disaster-kind of retreating to my second childhood.
This article might seem like one written by a maverick, a loser or a bitter-self inflicted individual whose child did not qualify for the said program. However, the contents herein are true and shall remain so unless and until Equity bank reforms the way they pick truly disadvantaged and bright children from our society. My child had over 400 marks (among the top ten) in Machakos County and was offered a place in one of the top National schools. Unfortunately, I have no money to either pay for high school fees or buy my way out through cartels that have apparently taken over the Wings To Fly initiative and other similar scholarships. This might sound quirky to the founder of the program, but it is the bare ugly truth that takes place at the grassroots level.
It is unfortunate that the president of the republic of Kenya is made to preside over the launch of the program that is already riddled with corruption in its selection process.
Verdict: The candidates from Athi River this year (2017) shall be sons and daughters of the rich; or sons of wheeler-dealers of corruption thriving within the corridors of power. G-d have mercy on the poor.
I wrote to the project manager (Wings to fly) a m/s Ivy Mwai) through her email: email@example.com and another email to the so called “Activity Manager” Dr. Lucy Kithome through her email: firstname.lastname@example.org
None of them replied to my email. Perhaps they thought it was spam and, perhaps they were right because my messages were unsolicited after all!
It is unfortunate that such a noble initiative by Dr. Mwangi can be abused to such an extent and still the organizers have the guts to invite the president for wrong and not unreasonable motives to preside over its launch at Kasarani.
In all likelihood, the trend will continue unabated for as long asDr. Mwangi remains perched at a point zenith away from the ugly truth that now overrun the now “Wings To Fly” scandal.
- Promise: I will not plug out this article until the vice is eradicated and truly needy children benefit from the program.
- Dare: Anyone who wishes to challenge the contents herein is welcome. I shall be ready and willing to pinpoint my neighbours who are senior government officers yet they have their children being taken care of by the Equity’s Wings To Fly program. Yes! I will! Unless Equity Bank considers sons and daughters of salaried persons also as needy.
- In equal measure: I shall also be willing to take you to a poverty-stricken genius boy whose cave-like home will move you to tears yet he was scolded out of the interview at Athi River like a dog.
The incident in question was witnessed at Athi River CDF offices where the purported interview took place. If the same on goings takes place in every other constituency in the country, then the program is as good as dead and buried six feet beneath the ground. Awe unto you Dr. Mwangi! And if you still feel the writer of this article was just peddling personal vendetta, try doing your own spot-check at the homes of the sponsored kids from Athi River sub-county or Mavoko constituency for that matter.
Feel free to share your thoughts hereunder.