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Woman, 103, misses out on welfare stipend after records show she’s dead

RIFT VALLEY
By Martin Ndiema | December 8th 2021

Elizabeth Kemunto at her home in Kiptoror, Cherang'any, Trans Nzoia County. [Martin Ndiema, Standard]

A granny aged 103 has been missing out on the government’s cash transfer programme for the elderly following claims that she was dead.

Ms Elizabeth Kemunto, a resident of Kiptoror in Cherangany Sub-County says every time she went to collect the Sh2,000 per month stipend, programme officials notified her that she could not access it since she had been struck off the register.

Ms Kemunto said officials claimed her name was removed from the list of beneficiaries five years ago after a woman, who acted as a secretary to a group of senior citizens, allegedly reported that she had passed on.

“I can hardly fend for myself yet I don’t get the cash like the other elderly people. Someone lied to them that I died and they removed me from their register without any notification and since then, I have been suffering,” said an ailing Kemunto.

The granny says she received the amount for seven years. Her cash transfer programme number, 79162, is now invalid and she wonders if someone else could have played tricks on her to swindle what was rightfully hers. 

A hopeless Kemunto now wants authorities to set in and ensure she is enlisted back into the cash transfer programme. She says local officials have been referring her to their seniors whom she has no means of accessing.

Her daughter, Kerubo Mbenta, who is married elsewhere said she had tried to help her mother get enlisted back in vain as officials keep asking them to return another day.

She said that upon realising that her mother was suffering, she picked her up and leased out her small portion of land for 10 years so that she could raise money to fend for her, including catering for her medication.

However, she added, the meagre amount from farm produce could not sustain them long and opted to make a public appeal so that she could have her mother enlisted back.

“For about seven years now, programme officials have been taking us in circles. They keep asking us to wait,” she disclosed.

The granny can barely walk or work. “I have tried my best to take care of her needs but with our struggles to make ends meet, I cannot manage. My appeal is for the officials to enlist her back so she can get the cash,” added Kerubo’s daughter.

Fredrick Nyamborora, the retired area chief, confirmed that Ms Kemunto was receiving the cash during his reign but it stopped midway on claims that she had died.

He says he wrote to the Social Services Department to confirm to them that Kerubo is alive but nothing has changed. 

Trans Nzoia East officer in charge of Social Services Emily Woyet dismissed claims that Kemunto was delisted on grounds of death and said that the department had filled an update form containing her name. She said she will be back into the list once an ongoing clean-up exercise is complete.

“The claims that she is not receiving her money because she is dead are not true. It could be as a result of having shared caregivers. In fact, we have similar cases which we are handling” Woyet said.

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