Hungry residents of Kisumu County were disappointed after the anticipated distribution of food by the Uhuru Community Development Program (UCDP) to vulnerable members of the society, during this Covid-19 period was stopped on Friday at the eleventh hour.
The large crowd had gathered for the usual rations they have been receiving in the past, but were left cursing those behind the stoppage, terming them as inhuman and keen on impoverishing the suffering lot, even as the novel virus continue ravaging the country.
Speaking to KNA, an elderly woman, Dorsila Ager (65) who was among the group drawn from Manyatta A and B said she could not believe that the noble initiative had been politicized, despite helping in minimizing their suffering.
“It is unfortunate that we have been made to sit for more than three hours only to be shocked that an Assistant Chief rushed to the Kisumu Central Assistant County Commissioner’s offices just to ensure the food distribution does not take place,” she claimed.
Ager said the food distribution by UCDP spearheaded by the Organization’s Director, Bishop Davies Okombo was a divine intervention and wondered why the administrator felt bad about the program to the extent of stopping it.
She expressed hope that if there was any problem, it will soon be sorted out so that they can continue receiving the food rations, which have transformed their lives, without anyone asking them for any kind of political support.
Bishop Okombo revealed that so far 370 beneficiaries have been issued with 4Kgs wheat flour, 4Kgs rice, 4 Kgs green grams and two bars of soap each.
He said each household has an average of 5 persons thus translating to 1850 direct beneficiaries whom they have been targeting to alleviate the impact of the Covid – 19 which has seen more than 1.2 million people lose their jobs countrywide.
The project will run for 6 months with a budget of Sh.5 million, said the clergyman, adding that he draws satisfaction in helping the less fortunate in society in line with God’s teaching.
He sought audience with Kisumu East and Central Deputy County Commissioners over the matter, but both of them were said to be holed up in a meeting. However, the clergyman promised to seek the support of the two administrators to clear any misunderstanding.
The matter almost degenerated into a full scale conflict when four armed police officers from Kondele dressed in civilian arrived at the distribution venue at the UCDP headquarters Manyatta only to find that the irate crowd had already dispersed peacefully.
It took Bishop Okombo time to convince them to do so in peace in order to avoid what could become a full scale conflict between the officers and the hungry residents.
According to the list the Bishop had, the distribution was authorized at Kisumu East Deputy County Commissioner’s (DCC) offices. However, the DCC Josephine Ouko disowned the same and expressed doubts about its authenticity.
Even so, the document was dully stamped after a police officer owned up to have taken it there as required by law and finally left a file copy.
“Since the advent of Covid – 19 many people have been suffering and it is painful to see food already packed for distribution being taken back to the stores,” stated Mama Dorice Ongoma (not her real name) yet residents are going through a difficult period.
Ongoma said food issues should not be politicized at any cost to the extent that members of the public are forced to disperse when some of the families were sleeping hungry.
By Joseph Ouma/KNA