Kilifi gubernatorial candidate Michael Tinga has pledged to allocate Sh1 billion for bursaries and scholarships with a view to ensuring all Kilifi children access education if elected.
He said he would form the Governor’s Education Fund and increase the education budget from the current about Sh400 million to Sh1.4 billion to make provisions for the proposed fund aimed at paying school fees for learners from form one to university.
The Ford Kenya candidate, who is giving a second shot to the governorship bid, said he would reduce the budgets of less strategic departments in order to create the fund. The current administration spends Sh350 million (Sh10 million per ward) on bursaries.
Tinga, a businessman in the tourist resort town of Malindi, said lack of school fees was a big disaster in the county as many students have been forced to stay out of educational institutions due to abject poverty affecting most families.
Speaking during the launch of his manifesto at a Mtwapa hotel Thursday, Tinga said he would mobilise funds from investors and well-wishers to contribute to the Sh1 billion to cater for all leaners in secondary and tertiary educational institutions.
“We shall provide free education to all our children from form one to university. Each year, we shall inject into the scholarship kitty Sh1 billion and engage investors and other well wishers to contribute to this kitty in order to realize this dream,” he said.
He said for effectiveness and prudent use of the funds, the kitty would be managed by head teachers and principals of primary and secondary schools, who will choose officials from among themselves.
“Principals will not send students away from school for lack of fees because they will be members of the committee,” the candidate said, adding that his administration would formulate relevant laws and regulations and convince Members of the Kilifi County Assembly to approve the same.
On agriculture, the aspiring governor said if elected, his administration would spend Sh1 billion to purchase 250 tractors and carry out agriculture with farmers with a view to making the county food secure.
“The tractors will be managed by the county government. We shall plough with the farmers, provide free farm inputs, weed with them and harvest together. The farmer will take half the produce while the other half will put in the County Strategic Food Reserve,” he said.
Tinga at the same time said his administration would revamp the tourism sector, which is currently on its knees due to various factors including the Covid-19 pandemic, by carrying out aggressive marketing in collaboration with investors in the hospitality industry.
He said he would also invest much in sporting activities and build at least two stadia, one in Kilifi town and another in Malindi.
During the launch, Tinga faulted his Ford Kenya Party Leader Moses Wetang’ula for throwing his weight behind United Democratic Movement (UDA) gubernatorial candidate Aisha Jumwa.
“When Wetang’ula came to Kilifi with (Deputy President William) Ruto, he forgot that he had a candidate and urged voters to elect Jumwa. Ford Kenya is in Kenya Kwanza, but we will not allow anybody to dictate to us who we should vote for among candidates of various parties in the coalition,” he said.