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Don’t associate central region with jiggers, MP told

Wajir East MP Rashid Amin has been told to apologize for terming central Kenya as region heavily infested by jiggers.
Ahadi Kenya Trust Executive Director, Dr. Stanley Kamau has termed the legislator’s utterances as divisive and stigmatizing to victims of jigger infestation.
Kamau, who has been leading spirited campaign on eradication of the flea countrywide for several years now, said Amin does not seem to understand that jigger menace is not only confined in Mount Kenya region, but also in other parts of the country.
The Wajir MP allegedly made the utterances on Friday, when he joined other leaders from North Eastern region in rejecting the proposed formula on revenue allocation, based on the number of people in a particular locality.
Amin had dismissed Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria for claiming revenue allocation should be based on population and not geographical area.
The MP in his sentiments said central region which is jigger infested area is not that special, thus they will not be cowed by people who are against development in north eastern region.
Amin’s words angered Kamau who in a press conference Saturday, said the MP should understand jiggers are like any other disease and can affect any person, including those from Wajir East constituency.
“The jigger infested people may negatively be affected by such careless utterances. Let leaders demand for their rights without bringing in other issues which may affect the poor in the society,” added Kamau.
The MP’s sentiments, he said, were against the spirit on national unity, saying Amin should apologize as the country is currently geared towards fostering a united front.
“Nobody chooses to be born in an area plagued by diseases and jiggers and it is the height of irresponsibility to associate one area with a particular challenge,” he remarked.
The anti-jigger campaigner noted that the organization has been working hard in partnership with the national and county governments among other stakeholders to eradicate the pest countrywide, while terming the MP’s utterances as drawback against the fight.
He observed that jigger victims need to be reminded that the infestation is not disability but a treatable condition, thus those affected can be rehabilitated and get back to their normal lives.
“To be able to remove the stigma from the poor, we need to stop classifying regions with their challenges,” he said.
He continued, “There are many counties whose residents suffer from Fistula, HIV/Aids, extreme hunger and poverty yet leaders do not stigmatize them on such issues.”
By Bernard Munyao

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