Wednesday, November 14, Kitui.
By Brian Peter
Kitui West MP hon. Edith Nyenze is in the forefront pushing the government to easen the process of funds reimbursement to senior citizens, so that the grants can achieve it’s aim of improving the living standards of the elderly in Kenya.
Speaking to the Kitui Newspaper reporter outside the Parliament, hon. Nyenze expressed concern that the process currently in use has made an otherwise great state project achieve very little, as most of the payments is spend on weary transport to and from the banks tasked with the disbursement.
“Most of these wazees make several trips to the banks before they can access their money,” said the MP. “Something that bears a heavy toll on their advanced aged bodies and also depletes almost entirely the amount they are given since most of them borrow the fares from neighbors and friends.”
“This money is currently not helping our elderly, despite being a great initiative, ” she added forlornly.
A case Kitui County, the first lot of registered beneficiaries to this fund have to make tiresome journeys to Kitui and Mwingi towns, the only towns where the host banks have branches, to collect their allocations. In some cases, these senior citizens make over two trips to the banks before they can get the money. Given the distances, some of them end up spending more than the Ksh. 4,000 the government gives them every two months on these trips.
Hon. Nyenze disclosed that she is in the process of tabling a bill that seeks to have the Ministry of Culture delocalize the reimbursements of this first lot of registered senior citizens from the host banks’ branches to the local bank agents nearer to the people.
“This will make it easier and cheaper for the elderly beneficiaries to recieve their money, ” she added.
Closer to home, Hon. Nyenze revealed that she has made local arrangements with the ministry to have the elderly beneficiaries in Kitui West constituency collect their next allocations from the Chief’s office in Kabati town.
“There’s need for an apt and parmanent solution to this problem, ” said the MP, “And as we wait for the passing of this bill and the subsequent delocalization to the local agents, I have negotiated for a provisional solution for my people.”
She explained her choice of Kabati town as the most central and easily accessible point in Kitui West Constituency.
The senior citizens grant program, locally dubbed Malipo ya Uzeeni, is a government initiative that covers elderly citizens who are over 70 years old, are extremely poor and vulnerable, and recieve no pension. Its main objective is ensuring that the senior citizens in Kenya live a decent life.