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Save us from agents eating our stipend, the elderly tell state

NYANZA
By James Omoro | February 27th 2021

A group of elders address journalists at Kabunde Social Hall compound in Homa Bay town on February 25, 2021. [James Omoro, Standard]

The elderly in Homa Bay County have decried bribery in the process of receiving their Sh8,000 stipend through the cash transfer programme.

The elderly aged 70 and above who have been receiving their money for the last one week at Kabunde Social Hall in Homa Bay Sub-county accused some agents of extorting them. 

They claimed that the agents were taking from them between Sh500 and Sh1, 000 to issue them with the stipend.

The senior citizens said the agents locked themselves in the hall and only those who had parted with the bribe and those who committed to pay the bribe after withdrawal are allowed in.

The senior citizens from Homa Bay, Ndhiwa, Rangwe and Rachuonyo North now want the unfortunate vice to stop.

Jarongo Okumu, a beneficiary accused the agents of robbing them indirectly.

“They tell us to give them Sh1000 and another Sh100 for registration. This is robbery without violence,” Okumu said.

Jeremiah Ouya, another elderly citizen argued they undergo a lot of financial difficulties to get the fare for travelling to Kabunde. He described the vice as a double loss.

“Getting fare from my home in Karachuonyo Constituency to this place is a problem. But it is unfortunate that these people are taking our money unfairly,” Ouya said.

Obiero Okelo, expressed concerns that elders who could not part ways with the bribe are yet to get their stip.

“Corruption has taken over this process and many elders will not take home the Sh8,000 they are supposed to get,” said Okelo from Genga in Rangwe Constituency.

Yusto Oyoo, from Kochia ward, said most of them are now hungry in Homa Bay town with no cash to buy food as the agents insist on getting their cut before releasing the money.

“They have kept taking us round since Monday. I am 81 and we have stayed hungry the whole day despite our advanced ages,” he said.

They called on the Government to review the method of giving the stipend to cushion them from the cartels.

 “This programme is very good but we appeal to the Government to protect us from the cartels who rob us of our money,” said Margaret Onyango.

The monthly stipend which had accumulated for four months is issued by the National Government to improve the lives of the senior citizens.

However, Homa Bay County Director of Children Department Peter Kutere condemned the malpractice saying they were investigating the matter.

Kutere said it is illegal for anybody to take money from the elders.

“Let me clarify that nobody is supposed to take money from the elders.

“Anybody doing so is committing a crime and we are investigating the matter to ensure legal action is taken against those who are culpable,” said Kutere.

He also told the elders to report the malpractice to his office.

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