One year, 8 months and 18 days ago today, the Kenyan govt (GoK) registered a domain that would be used to con youths known as https://mbelenabiz.go.ke.
As with all matters involving cash transfers, the government would launch it with pomp and color, the money would be given to a few youths and then the other deserving ones will see their hopes disappear in thin air. Their money pocketed by the well-to-do youths who are connected to the aristocrats.
This has been the bane of all Cash Transfer Scheme started by the Jubilee regime.
MbeleNaBiz, a product is a business plan competition involving youths. It is an initiative by the GoK under the Kenya Youth Employment and Opportunities Project (KYEOP).
According to its website, MbeleNaBiz aims to expand new and existing youth-led enterprises by providing them with grant funding and/or business plan training.
The implementer of MbeleNaBiz is the Micro and Small Enterprises Authority (MSEA) (have you ever heard of this?) and the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs (MPYG), with support from the World Bank.
KPMG, the audit firm was the contracted partner that manages MbeleNaBiz.
Nearly two years after its launch, there are complains of young entrepreneurs getting shortchanged.
Kenya Govt has often lied to youths that they can employ themselves. One thing, not everyone is an entrepreneur, secondly it is the prerogative of govt to create jobs or conducive environment for jobs.
It is foolhardy to lie everytime that youths must employ themselves in order to stem joblessness yet the same govt puts hurdles such as KRA and business license in front of the same youths.
As expected, the complaints around MbeleNaBiz are the same as those in other Cash Transfer Services that GoK has offered. There’s looting by the organisers.
Good evening Mr. Cyprian, El president,
You know how to articulate issues, I trust your blog and I am one of your religious follower.
Kenyan youths are not happy! Why?
They don’t trust the process used to award Ksh.15B from the world bank to “750 winners” in a competition dubbed MbelenaBiz Business Plan competition under the hands of KPMG that started way back in 2019.
Now that it is not possible to fight them, with your outmost intelligence please interrogate for public consumption.
Will send you via WhatsApp some of the Audio clips from some worried “winners “
Have you applied for the #MbeleNaBiz Business Plan Competition?
If not, you only have 6 more days to do so. Visit https://t.co/0DgjcZkYvt to start your application @Coby1 @rirojeremy @janesowuor @NyawiraGitaka @benazirmoha @KYEOP_Kenya @MSEA_Kenya @RoySasaka pic.twitter.com/SWHX6KYC1T
— World Bank Kenya (@WorldBankKenya) August 26, 2019
I was one of the Applicants of Mbele Na Biz program and I strongly feel there was a deliberate plan to manipulate the outcome of the competition. We have managed to gather several flaws and gaps witnessed in the whole process. Have listed a few here:
- Some of the ideas/business have below average business fundamentals compared to losers in the same category or line of business, raising questions on the credibility of the judging process.
- This program was billed as a business plan competition, but it turned out to be a fill in template in both stages of the competition, so generic someone can tell a sibling or friend to do it. It was not clear what the metrics and scoring used were to arrive on the winners.
- There have been deliberate efforts to have poor communication channels from the portal to the social media posts. For instance, from the application portal my project status indicated that ‘review for my proposal starts 15th Feb and ends on 21st June’. A week after the program was closed and awardees contacted.
- With the process being managed from obscurity, I strongly feel the outcome of the process is questionable. For instance we have awardees that got an email saying she had been allocated Ksh 0, but after raising questions they were verbally awarded her 900k. How kienyeji is that.
- A funny one, if indeed there were genuine beneficiaries how is hard to have a few of them celebrating under the social media post by Mbele Na Biz. You don’t need to be a psychologist to expect that to happen. Like out of 750 at least 50.
- We have evidence of persons who have relations with managers been awarded, and in fact upgraded from 900k they have applied to 3.6 million
- Why did the survey done by the IPA involve 750 participants? The number is of great concern to us as well as the timing given that it was done way after the program was closed and just a few days before the awardees were announced. Furthermore, theinformation we got from IPA was the survey was intended to guide the policy formulation on the impact of the fund to beneficiaries, thus raising even more curiosity.
- Arrogance of the people involved is just on another level. Imagine being asked ‘did you read the T&C’ whenever you ask for clarification with ‘uta do attitude’. For heaven’s sake, this is public money, and an already rigged KPMG portal can’t be used to overrule the laws we have in this country in regard to fairness and due process.
- Our request to have the names of beneficiaries published, with information on where they come from and business they do or plan to do has been ruled out in guise of data privacy. How is this even a valid response where public money is involved? How will Kenyans know there was regional and gender balance in grant issuance. How about special interest groups like people living with disability. There are a lot of questions on the integrity of this program. I hope we get an opportunity to appeal and make our case otherwise we will have no option but to proceed to court and seek a judicial review on the matter as well as have relevant Parliament committees interrogate it
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