Mercy Tarus says she stands by her decision to confront Uasin Gishu’s highest-ranking officials regarding the misuse of more than Sh50 million allocated for the assistance of students pursuing different courses abroad.
The 24-year-old Kabarak University graduate has since become an online sensation after a now-viral video captured her dressing down Governor Jonathan Bii, his deputy John Barorot, and Senator Jackson Mandago.
“We have brought our parents, some sickly, some diabetic, some depressed. My governor, I went to school with your children, who are now abroad. Deputy Governor Barorot, you told us that your children are also abroad. You told our parents that we, the children, belong to all the parents. I ask, do we have children belonging to these leaders here with us?” she posed.
“I ask do you know any anti-depressants? There are students here who are on anti-depressants. You have given your children a head start. They are earning euros abroad while we suffer here. We don’t know whether you sold land, secured loans or sold houses,” Tarus said at the meeting convened by Governor Jonathan Bii.
In a follow-up interview with a local publication, Mercy Tarus said she wanted the leaders to uphold accountability to the constituents who elected them.
“I am not remorseful for what I said. I watched the viral clip after learning later that it has trended. I said what had to be told and I do not regret it. I am a teacher, and that is why I demanded answers,” she said as quoted by the Standard.
“We are used to being cowards fearing to face those in position. I was not being rude but brutally honest and demanding accountability.”
The Geography and CRE Trained teacher said her parents took a loan to raise Sh 982,000, which they paid to the Uasin Gishu County trust account before the end of a two–week deadline they had given.
Mercy explained that she deliberately chose not to follow her cousins’ path of applying through agents to study in Australia. Instead, she was persistent about her aspiration to study in Canada through the county program.
“After paying the fees, our travel date kept changing, and the required fees kept fluctuating because no fee structure was given to us. Now, my cousins who began their process way after I enrolled for the County program are already in Australia, moving on with their lives,” she said.
Mercy Tarus also mentioned that she had not planned to confront the leaders during the meeting.
“My speech was not rehearsed, neither was I coached. I was agitated, especially when I overheard some County employees claiming the leaders were letting us bask in the sun and stay hungry for hours before they would make an appearance. The venue also had a heavy police presence. The officers flaunted their teargas, and I wondered why all that security on helpless parents who would not harm a fly,” she explained.
“I still have dreams, and I am hopeful that I will accomplish them, at the moment, I feel drained and wasted, but I am positive that the stars will align again,” Mercy added.