Kenyans to pay school fees for military children in new law
Kenyans will incur extra costs in taxes to foot school fees bills for children of the deceased veteran military officers.
This is after the National Assembly passed the Military Veterans Bill, 2022 later approved by the Senate and has since been signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The Bill, which establishes a regulatory and institutional framework for the management of military veterans’ affairs, provides for the benefits to military veterans and their dependants including the establishment of the Dependants’ Education Fund by the Defence Council.
The Fund will provide scholarships for education of the children of deceased military veterans.
The Act further makes provisions for the Defence Council to prescribe regulations for the administration of the Fund including the procedure for processing applications for scholarships.
The new law also establishes the advisory committee on military veterans that will advise and make recommendations to the Defence Council, Cabinet Secretary or Director of Military Veterans on any matter relating to the military veterans or their dependants.
Under the Act, the powers of the Defence Council include developing a policy on military veterans as well as considering proposals by the Cabinet Secretary, the Chief of Defence Forces or the Director of Military Veterans regarding the policy on funding and budgeting in connection with the military veterans’ affairs.
Kenya has in the recent past increased its spending on security discipline on the back of increased militia attacks.
The National Treasury allocated a whooping Ksh.317.8 billion to the country’s security agencies in the 2022/23 fiscal year from Ksh.294.5 billion in the current FY.
Defence got Ksh.128.4 billion while the NIS will get Ksh.46.4 billion. The police and prison service was allocated Ksh.122.2 billion.
This is likely to shoot with the provision of the Military Veterans Bill, 2022.
Kenya joins the list of advanced economies like the United Kingdom which has been spending billions of shillings to send children of military officers on education programme.
British taxpayers spent Ksh.30.3 billion (£246 million) in the last three years for private education of officers’ children attending elite schools such as Eton, Harrow and Gordonstoun.
In 2018 alone, just eight leading public schools received nearly Ksh.246.7 million (£2 million) under the Ministry of Defence scheme which helps servicemen and women pay school fees.
Nigeria’s army adopted this move in 2016 to pay for the education of at least four children for each solider.
Nigeria’s style is specific only for the slained soldiers in the counterinsurgency fight against the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in parts of the country’s north.
“We have a welfare scheme for both officers and soldiers of the Nigerian army, especially for their dependents or next of kin in the event of inevitable unforeseen [death]. For instance, if the soldier is injured or ultimately lose their life, his family will be adequately taken care of apart from the routine administrative we have,” said Nigerian military spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman.