Over 8,000 National Youth Service (NYS) recruits have headed to their different homes after their passing-out parade was overly delayed due to insufficient funds to meet their needs.
The passing-out parade has faced extreme postponement since five months ago as there was no available money to meet the cost of the intricate event.
This could be linked to the aftermath of the heavy looting which the institution has seen in recent years.
We gathered that the new recruits have stayed at the camp for 11 months, but were sent home on Thursday till further notice.
Normally, recruits are not allowed to go home before the completion of their course except the posting station gives such a permission, not the college.
The recruits revealed that during their stay in camp, they were fed very poorly. They explained that they faced different challenges before deciding on heading home finally pending the passing-out parade.
A source at Gilgil NYS Training Institute explained that the recruits were being served black tea in the morning. This was after the suspension of the powder milk which was imported from China during former Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru’s tenure.
The source further revealed that things have really gone bad at the training institute. He added that the trainees who were sent home had suffered in the camp and had faced a much severe condition than Kenyans would imagine.
The recruits who allegedly entered into the training camp in May last year have been undergoing paramilitary training for the past 11 months- though the training usually lasts for six months.
The source noted that the recruits were supposed to leave camp in October and a fresh group ought to have entered the camp by now.
However the ceremony has been delayed unnecessarily and nobody knows when it will finally happen.
Several sources also said that fund is needed not just to plan the ceremony but also to procure uniforms, spades and berets for the passing-out ceremony.
One of the trainees revealed that life in the camp is beyond endurance and now that it has been delayed, most people have headed home for good.
It is believed that the delay could be a strategic move by the superpowers of Kenya to avoid being judged by the public given that the institution has been rocked severely with corrupt cases and fund embezzlement amounting to Sh791 million stolen.
Meanwhile not just the present trainees are complaining of working under hardship, the immediate ex trainees who were deployed in different parts of the country to implement government works disclosed that they have stays for days without feeding well.
Several noted that despite being fed poorly, they get their payments late. One hinted that he received Sh500 in September and waited till February before getting another Sh1,000 payment.
The NYS officer opened up that out of the first Sh500 payment which they received, they were only allowed to make a withdrawal of Sh300 and Sh700 was the permissible amount to be withdrawn from the second payment of Sh1,000.
The officer added that over 50 NYS drivers and mechanics have not received their allowances totaling Sh21 million. Devolution and Planning ministry top officials may have been aware of suspect dealings among NYS staff months before the revelation of a scandal in mid last year.
NYS has been marred with several graft cases linking top officials. So far none of those named to be involved have been made to face justice. Rather stories keep unfolding with new names being roped into the scandal. The controversy seems unending but while we await for the final judgement that will see the culprits return looted funds, it is advisable that the government should consider the suffering new recruits.