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Covid-19: Nakuru MCAs put suppliers of bad food on notice

Saturday July 25 2020
caucus

Nakuru County Assembly Disaster Committee and Nakuru County Opinion Leaders Caucus members at the Nakuru County Assembly on July 14, 2020. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

Nakuru County Assembly has put on notice suppliers who delivered bad food to vulnerable residents. 

The devolved unit’s disaster management committee led by Naivasha East MCA Stanley Karanja has listed a number of Non-Governmental Organisations, activists and individuals to give evidence about the supply of bad food during the pandemic.

The assembly had approved additional Sh478 million supplementary budget to combat Covid-19.

However, the distribution food meant to cushion vulnerable Nakuru County residents against the effects of Covid-19, has been marred by irregularities in procurement of the food items. Some firms are said to be associated with some members of the executive.

Mr Karanja, who is a former majority leader and has since fallen out with Governor Lee Kinyanjui, alleged that his ward received bad food.

TENDERING PROCESS

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The first group which gave evidence to the disaster committee on July 14 was the Nakuru County Opinion Leaders Caucus led by Jimmy Wagakabu (chairperson), Francis Chege Wachira, Florence Waweru, Ezekiel Kamau (secretary-general), John Rukwa, Victor Ngatia and Asumpta Muiruri.

Mr Wagakabu said they were not satisfied with how millions of shillings was used in the just concluded relief distribution to most vulnerable in the county’s 55 wards.  Each recipient was to get food worth Sh1,850.

However, the caucus said residents received soap, maize worth  Sh1,000 and according to the group, the tendering and procurement of foodstuffs was not transparently done.   

“The assembly should push the executive to give it the list of companies that supplied the food items for transparency and accountability,” said Mr Wagakabu.

 “Those with underlying health conditions such as cancer, HIV/Aids and diabetes were not considered,” Mr Wagakabu alleged.

Some wards received bad maize and beans while others got vouchers worth between Sh2,000 and Sh3,000,” said Mr Wagakabiu.

“The bad maize had a high risk of aflatoxin and we wonder why the county did not buy clean maize from local farmers,” said Mr Wagakabu.

He added: “The exercise was marred by wrangles during the food distribution and the elderly, expectant mothers and the sick did not get their ration.”

They faulted the appointment of the ward committees in charge of food distribution saying some undeserving people got food which they later sold.  

“A lot of food was donated by well-wishers who also gave cash and cheques, we demand a proper accountability on how much money was donated by Good Samaritans,” said Mr Wagakabu.

The group claimed that some politicians used the food for political mileage.  

Mr Karanja, who admitted that food was distributed in his ward, promised to put the executive to task after receiving evidence from all stakeholders.

“We shall summon the executive to explain the anomalies of bad food supplied to the residents of Nakuru,” said Mr Karanja.

Some MCAs are also expected to give evidence to the committee on the overall food distribution exercise in their wards.

 “The supplier of poisonous food with aflatoxin will not go scot free, they won’t be paid and those responsible must carry their own cross,” said Mr Karanja.

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