People Living with Disabity cry foul of exclusion from county support during COVID-19 pandemic

Mr. Opis Ojiambo chairman. Image|Courtesy

It’s a month after the country reported its first coronavirus case and the government seems to be taking another cause in the fight against the pandemic.

Addressing the nation on Thursday, president Uhuru Kenyatta announced a number of new measures, for the very first time touching the vulnerable members of the society.

“Since the start of the coronavirus in the country, we have heard the president now thinking of us. This is a good move,” said Mr. Opis Ojiambo, chairman of person living with disability Trans Nzoia County.

The president in his speech stated that the government has released Shs.8.5 billion to support the elderly and vulnerable individuals under the Cash Transfer Programmme run by the Ministry of Labour for the months ahead.

In addition, the president said Shs.500 million, which was in arrears, will also be released to persons living with disabilities.

Mr.Ojiambo lamented that the county government has kept them in darkness after sidelining them from the committee that is being chaired by the county commissioner for the Corona emergency board pandemic.

“This is a committee formed from the national level to county levels, sadly in Trans Nzoia county we are still in the dark –we are yet to be included in the emergency team,” he said.

The chair further said the inclusion of the members will enable the response committee to reach people getting more information through their leaders.

“We should be included in the emergence committee team that has been formed by the government to provide information from our colleagues who are in the rural areas to get information through their leaders in various villages,” said Mr. Ojiambo.

Ojiambo further said that the Cash Transfer Programme does not include all persons living with disability, adding that the county needs to include them since they are the sole beneficiaries.

“A majority of the members are not in the programme and even the severely disabled persons, and this is a big challenge. We wish the government could include us all in the programme in order to make life bearable for us,” he added.

The Trans Nzoia Disabled Person with Disability project of toilet and carwash, which serves the traders and customers at Line Moja area together with an Mpesa shop, has been helping the group to sustain the lives of people living with disabilty.

The project funded by the women representative Trans Nzoia County Ms. Janet Nangabo has been of great impact to many disabled persons in the group.

“The county women representative has been of great help to the disabled society. Most of the support we needed has been from her and she has been working hand in hand with us for the best of the society which has made us feel part and parcel of the county and society.” said Mr. Ojiambo.

He further urges the government to provide the disabled persons with hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment to avoid falling into the wrong side of the law.

“If you are caught walking without a face mask, you will be fined Kshs.20,000 or sentenced to imprisonment. People living with disability cannot obviously afford such penalties and we are therefore calling on the county government to save them by providing the masks,” said Mr. Ojiambo.

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