No respite for elders as pledged weekly cash fails to reach them

elder
elder

What you need to know:

  • President Kenyatta rolled out the programme to cushion the vulnerable from the economic effects of Covid-19.
  • But three months down the line, the promise remains unfulfilled.

For close to three months, Mzee Dominic Ojiayo, a resident of Kalwande village in Seme, Kisumu County, has been glancing on his phone almost daily, but with little hope.

The 90-year-old had been listed as a beneficiary in the cash transfer programme that President Kenyatta rolled out to cushion the vulnerable from the economic effects of Covid-19.

But three months down the line, the promise remains unfulfilled. His daughter-in-law, Ms Pamellah Ojiayo, was listed as the contact person. But nothing has been forthcoming. Mr Ojiayo says they were told the delays were due to a mix-up of names.

“Our efforts to follow up on the matter with local administrators have been futile,” he said.

Attempts futile

Mzee Ojiayo is not alone.

In Homa Bay County, 72-year-old Japheth Ombok says his attempts to reach out to local administrators on the fate of the money have been futile.

The two are part of a group President Kenyatta had targeted as beneficiaries of the Sh8.5 billion allocated to the Ministry of Labour in April.

Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui last month said the teething problems in the programme were being addressed.

“I can’t say that we will solve all our challenges. But we just want to pick on the few that we think we can afford [to] continuously support,” Mr Chelugui said.

But it has not been all doom and gloom. Mr Anthony Ochieng, a father of three living in Kisumu, says he has been receiving a weekly stipend of Sh1,000.

Funds accounted for

Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund Chairperson Jane Karuku says all the funds raised have been accounted for.

“We have raised Sh3.4 billion in five months. Of this, we have committed Sh1.4 billion to buy PPEs for health workers. We have distributed 495,500 masks,” Ms Karuku said in her Twitter feed yesterday.

She said the most recent donation was that of 100,000 PPEs, masks and rubber boots to Kiambu County.

The fund has also distributed PPEs to residents of Embakasi, Kamkunji, Dagoretti, Kasarani, Kibra, Langata, Makadara, Mathare, Njiru, Starehe and Westlands.

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