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SHOCKING! Authorities shortchanging the elderly in the Pesa Ya Wazee Programme.

Margaret Wanjiru Kihato (left), a resident of Ofafa Estate since independence, narrates her predicaments to her guests who include the area MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina.
An impromptu visit by Thika Town MP Eng. Patrick Wainaina to Ofafa Estate on Saturday revealed that very many deserving cases have mysteriously never benefited from the billions of shillings in the Pesa Ya Wazee Programme that have since 2008 been set aside to benefit old and poor people.

The money, that is meant to cushion the neediest of the senior citizens, is causing ripples and discontent amongst the elderly who accuse some of the local administrators of deliberately misinterpreting the scheme to suit their own selfish interests. They allege that some of them were favoring their friends and relatives making it nightmarish for those who wanted to be registered as the beneficiaries of the scheme.

Among those who have never benefitted from this kitty is 86-year old Margaret Wanjiru Kihato who apart from being old, cannot walk due to an arthritis attack that has confined her to the house.

“I have never received any (Pesa ya Wazee) money though I am old and cannot even walk out of this house. In my condition, I depend on neighbours and friends to survive,” said Wanjiru.

Wanjiru bitterly recalls her youth during the struggle for independence when she would sacrifice her life to feed the freedom fighters only for her to end up neglected at her old age by the beneficiaries of her struggles.

“We sacrificed a lot for this country and have now aged here in Thika. Unfortunately, we have no one to take care of us now in our times of need,” she lamented.

These words were echoed by her peers, 87-year Njeri Wa Kamau and Njeri Wa Mwaniki who alleged that they were omitted in the list for the mere fact that they resided in county government houses.

“We were told that since we live in county government houses, we do not qualify for this money,” said Njeri Wa Kamau.

They wondered what went of their leaders who, immediately after elections, forgot about them and left them to fate.

“We have been voting for these leaders since independence but none of them ever comes back to check on us after they get into office. Our relevance ends on election day,” said Njeri Wa Mwaniki.

Since its introduction in 2008, the government has spent a total of Sh25.7 billion on the Pesa Ya Wazee programme, signaling its commitment to improve the welfare of the elderly.

Responding to their grievances, MP Patrick Wainaina promised to follow up on their case and ensure that all deserving cases in Thika Town Constituency benefitted from the programme.

Wainaina also warned that he will personally ensure that very stern disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who will be found culpable of any misgivings in relation to the scheme.

“We cannot allow anyone to jeopardise government’s effort to keep our senior citizens healthy and improve their life expectancy. If you have swallowed this money, you will definitely vomit it,” warned the MP.

Wainaina asked community leaders to prepare a list of all deserving cases within their areas of jurisdiction for subsequent action to ensure all benefitted.

The MP also promised to register all the senior citizens above the age of 65 years with NHIF so as to ease their access to health services. 

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