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‘Standard’ asked why in headline and correctly answered, phew!

A story would come at you with “why” stuck right up in the headline.

Why you won’t see cockroaches in the day. Giniwasekwawo, why Raila has the AU job in the bag. Why General Ogolla’s chopper dropped from the sky. Why Ruto’s job is making his skin darker by the day.

Okay, we just made all that up. But, seriously, count the number of newspaper stories that start with, “why”. They all intend to do one thing: grab the reader. Every single one of them is pregnant with promise to answer a mystery.

They rarely do.

But The Standard recently pulled a refreshingly rare difference.

Why MPs rejected Ruto order to have parents pay fees via e-Citizen”, said the story heading on April 17.

This story by Lewis Nyaundi ranked very high on the public-interest score. And, commendably, it proceeded to answer all the whys.

President Ruto had in February issued a controversial fiat, that all public schools should collect fees through the government’s e-Citizen portal only.

The courts froze the order.

Then, Parliament took it up for debate, in an attempt to make it law. It fell flat in the House. This story by The Standard listed reasons that majority of MPs had successfully argued on the floor.

The story said e-Citizen would put an undue financial burden on parents and could disrupt operations due to delays in accessing funds. Then, it drilled it down.

  • MPs raised viability concerns. How reliable was the system? Besides, the Treasury is notorious for delaying disbursements to schools; how would e-Citizen fees collection magically change that?
  • Would e-Citizen requirements prevent schools from soliciting additional fees outside the platform?
  • Don’t lie to Kenyans that e-Citizen collection will be cheaper; the platform’s service charge would be additional burden to parents.
  • What about parents who pay fees in-kind, through commodities? They would be locked out.

There, all the whys answered. Good job, Standard!

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