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Religious Leaders Demand Inclusion in Relief Food Vetting Team

Religious leaders in Nakuru have called on the State and County government to involve them in distribution of relief food and supplies to ensure that only deserving cases adversely affected by Covid-19 outbreak benefit.
The leaders, who praised the government for mobilizing resources by rallying the Kenya Red Cross, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the private sector and aid agencies to ensure vulnerable people receive the necessary assistance, called for measures to ensure a ‘few greedy’ individuals do not take advantage of the exercise to enrich themselves.
Arch-Bishop Charles Chweya of Grace Holy Churches of Kenya said Christian clergy, Muslim Imams and Hindu leaders were better placed to identify and vet widows, orphans, people living with disabilities and the poor to assist the government ‘weed out’ names of individuals not hit hard by the economic shutdown following by spread of the virus.
At the same time, the team while addressing journalists in Nakuru yesterday called on parents and guardians to confine their children indoors to avert further spread of Covid-19 disease.
Reverend Ann Njoki of Solid Rock Free Area Parish advised parents to sensitize their children about the virus and the need for them to refrain from interacting with their friends for their own safety.
She also emphasized the importance of personal hygiene to children and self-distancing from everyone.
On March 15, following the confirmation of three cases of the deadly virus in Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta suspended learning in all institutions and asked government offices and businesses to allow employees to work from home.
Reverend Njoki noted that following closure of learning institutions countrywide children were crowding in playgrounds and residential estates in most parts of country where she said they were interacting for more than 10 hours daily.
For transparency in distribution of relief food and other supplies, Arch-Bishop Chweya said a team of interreligious leaders had compiled a list of deserving cases from informal settlements and slum areas of the county which had been handed over to Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya, County Commissioner Erastus MbuiMwenda and Governor Lee Kinyanjui.
At the same time the Arch-Bishop stated that religious leaders in Nakuru had resolved to support the government’s directive to close places of worship and called for arrest and prosecution of their colleagues who will defy the directive or conduct ceremonies in which number of congregants exceed those recommended by the Health Ministry.
He faulted a section of religious leaders for ‘not taking seriously’ the night curfew and guidelines issued by the Health Ministry to stop spread of the dead virus.
The clergy man urged Kenyans to observe the rules put in place to curb spread of the disease.
He emphasized the need to stay at home, saying Kenyans are ignoring some of the orders issued.
The cleric said everyone, young and old, have to be at the forefront in stopping the disease from spreading.
Arch-Bishop Chweya criticized those ignoring efforts set up to curb the spread such as social distancing, working from home, embracing mobile money transfers and having fewer passengers in the public service vehicles.
He said more people now need water supplies urgently and there was need for the County government to scale up water trucking efforts in the coming days particularly in low income settlements.

By Anne Mwale

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