The government has set out to alleviate the suffering visited upon the vulnerable by the novel coronavirus. The establishment of the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, and the response it has received from companies and individual well-wishers is encouraging.
The Central Bank of Kenya gave a donation of Sh7.4 billion to fight Covid-19. President Uhuru Kenyatta later directed that Sh2 billion recovered from proceeds of corruption be channeled towards fighting coronavirus. The Senate donated Sh200 million from its kitty for the same cause.
Last week, the President said the national government had boosted counties’ collections by Sh5 billion and gave out Sh8.5 billion to reduce the suffering of the most vulnerable. Additionally, Sh500 million was set aside to help those with severe disabilities. These interventions, should they achieve their aim, will ensure the lives of the most vulnerable are not completely disrupted.
Unfortunately, a handful of individuals entrusted with distribution of relief food have become notorious for diverting such to benefit themselves. Police officers, relief food transporters and administrators who should know better, have been accused of diverting relief food before.
A centralised command point for the distribution of food and other supplies to the needy can ensure fair play and accountability. Understandably, the disabled are to receive a stipend of Sh2500 monthly until the situation clears. The government must therefore make sure only the truly disabled receive the stipends.
Officers in charge of the exercise should account for every single cent spent at the end of the day so that coronavirus does not end up creating a handful millionaires while the needy go hungry.