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COVID-19: Legislator says rural poor Maasai bearing the brunt

Senator Mary Seneta now appeals to the national government to facilitate local training centres so as to be able to produce affordable masks for Kajiado's rural poor.
Senator Mary Seneta now appeals to the national government to facilitate local training centres so as to be able to produce affordable masks for Kajiado's rural poor.

A nominated senator says she is saddened those living in abject poverty in rural areas of Kajiado are most likely to bear the COVID-19 brunt.

The legislator’s worries are pegged on the rising cases of Coronavirus infections in a bordering country, which shares an international porous borderline with Kajiado Maasai.

Senator Mary Seneta at a breakfast briefing in Kitengela town on Saturday claimed the majority of those under the risk of contracting Coronavirus live in abject poverty in identified areas in three sub-counties.

“Those we are talking about, and who I visited this week reside in Mailua (Kajiado Central), Torosei (Kajiado West), and Ilkilunyeti in Kajiado East sub-county. They cannot even afford a meal, leave alone buying facial masks,” said Seneta.

The remarks by the nominated senator came a day after Governor Joseph ole Lenku spoke on Citizen TV’s morning show on Friday and said his government could not cater for masks for the rural poor folk.

Answering a question from the station’s TV anchor, Lenku said his government will only supply masks to health workers and urged those outside his bracket to buy their facial protection masks.

Dispelled allegations

The governor also dispelled allegations that Kajiado is a water-scarce county and may face serious challenges in controlling the disease of lack of running water.

“The issues of water are fully addressed now. It has been raining all over and we have no shortage of water at this point. Recently the county assembly gave the executive Sh135 million to fight COVID-19,” said Lenku on Friday.

When the governor was asked what measures he was putting in place to assist the people of the county make an extra coin in the face of the pandemic, he said he had opened livestock markets and opened salons in urban centres.

In the face of the foreseen calamity in some selected areas she visited during the week, Seneta pleaded to the county, national government, and well-wishers to facilitate polytechnics in Isinya and Meto to enable them to produce face masks that can be distributed to the underprivileged rural people.

Humble request

“As things are in Kajiado, I would also request President Uhuru Kenyatta to expand the support to the rural areas and those living in informal settlements in the urban and rural areas of Kajiado to enable them to put food on the table during this painful period,” pleaded the nominated senator.

She said a weekly food package will go a long way in helping the rural poor.

She pledged to continue monitoring and offering personal support to ensure the country flattens the curve and beat the invisible enemy that is COVID-19.

Meanwhile, following the unfolding negative economic effects caused by government injunctions in bid to control Coronavirus infection, Governor Joseph Lenku has waived taxes on various items.

“To cushion our people from higher food prices and to enable the business community to avail food supplies in affordable prices, I have directed a waiver on taxes and levies from April to June,” said Governor Lenku.

Facebook account

The governor on a post on his Facebook account said he has directed his finance department to waive levies on daily market cess fees on agricultural produce.

He has also suspended transit cess fees for all agricultural produce, slaughterhouses’ inspection fees, and monthly parking fees for passenger service vehicles.

“As you are all aware, our country continues to experience the impact of the COVID-19, many business enterprises are suffering huge losses while others have closed,” said Lenku.

He said many workers continue to lose their livelihoods as the effects of the situation persist.

 

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