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Have you noted an influx of the beggars in Thika Town and other major towns in Kenya? You meet them dragging on their butts or just seated on a tattered mat along the street or outside busy buildings, incessantly shaking a mug urging passers-by to put some money in it. Some are 'sick' fellas 'writhing in pain' or mentally challenged toddlers 'left' in the scorching sun waiting for passers-by to throw a coin or two into their dirty plastic mug. Have you ever asked yourself where all these beggers came from in such large numbers? Begging has become quite a lucrative business in Kenya. Many people, especially the disabled, have been lured into the streets to engage in it. They included men, women and children. Majority of these people are non-Kenyans who come here with the help of Kenyans. Most of the beggars you see in the streets come from Tanzania. Smacks of greed and immorality have lured heartless people who use these poor beggars as Money-making machines. They go to Tanzania, pick disabled people and bring them into the country for their evil mission. Once in Nairobi, the beggers are stashed in rented or empty homes. Early every morning, these beggars are transported via matatus to strategic locations and nearby towns like Thika by handlers who pose as relatives. During my early morning spotchecks I realised that specific matatus plying the 237 route dropped them at various spots in Thika as early as 5am. For the bigger children, their handlers take them to scouted locations while it is early and dark to avoid raising suspicions and watched from a distance. They are left in the scorching sun until the evening, when they assemble to a central place to be picked and returned to their host. Toddlers on the other hand have rented women who pose as their mothers. They sit near the bus stops where commuters gather or near spots that guarantee good traffic, placing the child on the ground. Sympathisers drop money near the child as the 'mother' waits for them to leave before picking it up the notes and stashing them into her pockets. These financial opportunists use socially disadvantaged people to make money through begging. To them, the bigger the army of 'employed beggars' the better the returns. After the day's struggle in the evening, these poor lot cannot access they have begged for physically since their hosts go away with it after guarding them for the whole day and provide free food and shelter. The other are the local beggers from Kiandutu, Gacagi and Kamatharao. Every morning, they come to the town centre to strategic spots. This lot have their own territories and they never tolerate one another’s intrusion. They are very crafty nowadays. If they are not changing streets, they will move from one town to another. They spend a week in Thika, the next in Nakuru and so on. This enables them to make more money. Just approach any beggar and ask if you can give any other assistance, you’ll be surprised to learn that only two out of ten prefer anything else other than money. These guys are money-minded and that’s their driving force behind begging. Beggars rake in between Sh500 to Sh2,000 daily by feigning disability or sickness. A closer look reveals some lead comfortable lifestyles in the slums. Among those who enjoy what you donate your money are chang’aa brewers and prostitutes. Some of them have mistresses who enjoy the 'loot'. In the evening, it is common to see the beggars in the company of women. These women help to push their wheelchairs, prepare food and other activities so that they have a share of their money. Others are drunkards who drink to the point of losing their senses. Anyway, it is we the members of public who should be blamed for encouraging the vice. People have realised that Kenyans are very generous. This fame has spread beyond our borders, therefore, some unscrupulous people come into the country to beg. If we restraint from giving them money, they will not be on the streets.

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