Cornel Rasanga's smiling, avuncular likeness was printed in the top right corner of mock exam papers distributed at regional primary schools this week. On Wednesday local media reported Kenya's education minister had cancelled the mock exams and said officials involved would be punished.
The 59-year-old opposition governor of Siaya County on the shores of Lake Victoria was criticised for reportedly spending $17,000 (15,000 euros) of county funds in an apparent attempt to win the early support of future voters.
However, local education chief Pamela Akello defended her boss saying it is important that school children know who their governor is and that since the county sponsored the mock exams it was fitting that Rasanga's face should appear on the papers.
"The move to place the governor's portrait on the examination papers is just," Akello told the Daily Nation newspaper, adding children should "know their governor and have a closer relation with him."
Rasanga has so far stayed quiet on the controversy.