Village elders in Timbwani ward of Likoni Constituency have ventured into the public service transport business as an income-generating project.
More than 50 elders contributed Sh400 monthly since 2020 towards the purchase of a three-wheeled famously known as a tuk-tuk, a major mode of transport in the coastal city of Mombasa and its environs.
The village elders mooted the business idea in 2019 after they were trained on entrepreneurship skills, with the support of local leaders led by area MP Mishi Mboko Sh700, 000 was raised in a fundraiser. They bought a tent, chairs, and a tuk-tuk.
“The challenges we faced made us think out of the box. Some of us lack even rent to pay for the houses we live in. We appeal to the government to consider our welfare,” said Aboud Athman, Chairman of Timbwani Village Elders Welfare.
Athman urged Parliament and government to fast-track the implementation of the National Government Coordination (Amendment) bill, 2023 sponsored by Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse which enables village elders to be remunerated by the government.
“The bill should be implemented to facilitate our work sometimes we lack fare or airtime to furnish the government officials with information. If they cannot pay us the County and National governments should initiate projects. Our target is to come up with other projects to be able to pay the village elders Sh4000 monthly,” said Athman.
The tuk-tuk was launched by area MP Mishi Mboko who said the village elders’ relentless efforts to realise their dream of starting an income-generating project have borne fruit.
Village elders, she said, do a lot of community work in cooperation with the office of the Chiefs and Deputy County Community in sensitizing the public on government projects and how they will benefit their localities.
“They play a pivotal role in security matters because they are the first contact person at the grassroots but it is sad, they don’t receive any remuneration even a stipend, token, or allowance. As legislators we have discussed their issues in Parliament for village elders to get allowances,” said Mboko.
Mboko noted that giving monthly stipends to village elders will boost their morale and motivate them to carry out their duties and responsibilities with zeal.
She said: “If we really want to improve security it is imperative to empower the village elders because if they want to report a case for example sometimes, they lack even fares.”
The MP lauded the village elders for restoring peace in Likoni which had witnessed a surge in juvenile crimes with daylight robbery of businesses and members of the public.
She advised the elders to remain united devoid of divisions which may make the venture to go bankrupt. She promised to take them for training in business management.
“They should take it seriously as a business maintaining their balance sheets. The business capital should not be distributed to members to ground to a halt the tuk-tuk due to lack of fuel or maintenance,’’ advised Mboko.
On his part, Timbwani Deputy OCS Jacob Lenaiyarra hailed Likoni MP for empowering the elders exhorting them to continue volunteering information to security agencies.
“Without village elders and Assistant Chiefs Timbwani cannot be peaceful. These are the people who made the ward to be peaceful from our analysis. Through collaboration with village elders and the office of the Deputy County Commissioner we have reduced crime cases involving knife-wielding gangs,” said Lenaiyarra.
He hailed the MP for empowering the village elders. He assured the village elders of the utmost confidentiality of information shared with the police.
“Any information you share will not be released to anyone and will remain classified and your security is guaranteed,” said the Deputy OCS.
By Sadik Hassan