There have been more than murmurs about an alleged theft or misuse of resources from the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund.
If true, this would be a clear demonstration of the depth of our human depravity. To steal or misappropriate resources meant to combat an epidemic that could literally wipe us out of the face of the earth, is to be absolutely callous.
It is the kind of greed that we see in roadside looters who, with a conscience as dead as a dodo, rush to steal from the injured or dead victims of accidents. What shocks is that this heartless looting is often done with utmost glee – like a frustrated hunter that has finally caught an easy prey.
Covid-19 has all the makings of a catastrophic accident. Our vehicle of over 47 million passengers was suddenly hit by this virus, bringing our national journey to an abrupt halt. We have been thrown into a sudden state of confusion, groping here and there in search of help.
Every effort is being made to identify the injured and evacuate them to places where they can find help. Unfortunately, as the daily updates indicate, the affected could be many and those most exposed are losing their lives.
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It is for exactly this reason that the President declared this a national disaster and went ahead to establish the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, inviting all Kenyans to make contributions.
According to the chairperson of the fund, Jane Karuku, the donations are to be utilised to support the Government’s efforts in the supply of medical facilities and equipment and provide support for vulnerable communities. It is greatly heartening that many corporates and individuals have responded positively and contributed to the kitty.
Indeed, when the Government halted the contribution and distribution of foodstuff directly to the vulnerable communities, many groups that would otherwise have done so, readily channelled their funds to the national fund. The belief was that every coin would go towards the stated objectives.
No wonder then, when there have been rumours that these resources could be finding their way into private pockets or wasted on non-essential expenditure, it has drawn the ire of Kenyans. Thankfully, the President and his leadership team have given confident assurances that the resources are not only being well managed, but every coin will eventually be accounted for. The reality, however, is that many times the leaders may be well meaning, but their lieutenants at lower levels could be driven by an insatiable greed of the roadside kind.
The prophet Elisha was a man of great succour – dispensing his services without any pursuit or desire for personal benefit. In his days, Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram found himself in a prestigious position, but with a disease worse than Corona – he had leprosy.
In those days, leprosy not only consigned you into self-quarantine but also total isolation from the community. But, when Naaman’s Jewish house girl saw the suffering of her master, she recommended that he should seek help from the Prophet Elisha.
Though Naaman’s pride was initially a barrier to taking this advice, the reality of his suffering eventually forced him to give it a try. To his surprise, when he followed Elisha’s simple instructions of dipping himself seven times in the River Jordan, Naaman got completely healed.
So surprised and yet grateful was Naaman that he went back to Elisha and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. Please accept now a gift from your servant.” But Elisha replied him, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” Even though Naaman urged him, Elisha totally refused. Naaman, therefore, went his way.
Now, Elisha had a personal assistant called Gehazi. When Gehazi saw what his master had done, he could not believe it.
Gehazi hurried after Naaman and told him that Elisha had changed his mind and now wanted some of the gifts. Naaman readily gave the gifts to Gehazi. Gehazi went and put them away in his house.
But Elisha learnt about it. He confronted Gehazi, “Is this the time to take money, or to accept clothes, olive groves, vineyards, flocks, herds, or menservants and maidservants? Now, Naaman’s leprosy will come upon you and upon your descendants forever.” Gehazi immediately became completely leprous.
I seriously fear that a similar fate could await any person who may dare steal or misappropriate Covid-19 funds, whether or not the law catches up with them. Like Elisha said, this is not the time to grow rich – it could bring a serious curse into your house.