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Funds for elderly ‘stolen’, Senate team told

Hundreds of elderly people in Nakuru county have expressed their disappointment over the manner in which the kitty meant to provide a safety net for senior citizens is managed.

The elders said most of them have not benefited from the government cash transfer programme. The Senate Committee on Labour and Social Welfare heard that the funds have been “stolen” by people entrusted to distribute them.

Committee members led by chairman Stewart Madzayo and Nominated Senator Martha Wangari were left dumbfounded after the elderly raised the red flag.

An incensed Nominated Senator Ben Njoroge, who represents the interests of PWDs in the House demanded an explanation from the local committee, threatening to report it to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The cash payout is meant for Kenyans aged 65 and above, orphans and people with severe disabilities. The Jubilee administration allocated Sh18 billion to the kitty in the last financial year, but analysts say this is a drop in the ocean.

“I want an explanation from those in charge of the fund because I am shocked at the way things have been done…I am not taking this matter lightly,” said Njoroge.

After the meeting, Governor Kinuthia Mbugua, the senators and MCAs proceeded for a public baraza in Kiptangwany in Elementaita division where hundreds of locals expressed their dismay over the management of the fund.

Senator Njoroge demanded a report and a list of beneficiaries in Gilgil constituency following claims that the list could be fictitious. “I am very suspicious about the whole programme and we must say these things in the open and in broad daylight,” he stated.

But, George Kihanya who represented Gilgil MP Mathenge Nderitu dismissed claims that the fund has been rocked by corruption and favouritism saying that “we’ve done our best” He said there are more than 4, 000 senior citizens in his constituency alone while those who are in their list are only 550.

“Some of these people complaining don’t even qualify to get the money because there are many factors to be considered such poverty level,” he said. Senator Wangari regretted the secrecy surrounding the fund noting that everything should be done in the open.

According to her, MCAs and other grassroots leaders should be involved in the management of the fund to minimise theft and abuse. “We will push to the bitter end to ensure that the elderly people, women and young people in this country get what belongs to them,” she said.

Senator Madzayo said the number of elderly people set to receive the money has increased from 59, 000 when the Jubilee administration took over in 2013 to 100, 000 by the end of this year. The senate committee is touring all 47 committees collecting views from members of the public. End copy

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