Hundreds block Kibarani over missing out on COVID-19 relief food

Angry residents who blocked Kibarani area on Friday PHOTO COURTESY

Transport in and out of Mombasa Island was temporarily disrupted on Friday after angry residents blocked sections of the Makupa causeway along Kibarani to protest against missing out on the COVID-19 relief pack being distributed by the Kenya Redcross Mombasa branch and various stakeholders.

The residents accused the stakeholders tasked with distributing the relief food of intentionally skipping their area despite the area being made of low income earners who had been vulnerable to the economic effects brought about by the deadly virus.

“ We would like the authorities to know that we exist and Kibarani is a marginalized area unlike other slums like Bangla and Moroto” Benta Auma, one of the residents said.

The residents also lamented that they had been left out on the recruitment of the government hygiene program.

This is despite young men from neighboring Kaa Chonjo slum having been recruited in the program targeting 6000 young people.

The demonstrations come just a few days before the roll out of a second phase of the controversial food distribution exercise.

However, this is not the first time that concerns are being raised over the exercise.

In April Haki Yetu, a Mombasa based organization, said the food distribution program had failed, forcing people to go out in search of food, and risking further spread of the virus.

“Families were registered, hopes were raised and volunteers recruited, yet up to now only 2,000 families in Nyali constituency have benefited,”Gabriel Dolan, Haki Yetu’s executive director, said in a statement.

Dolan claimed the county had food for only 70,000 people but had not communicated this including how the beneficiaries would be selected.

“Frustrated and hungry citizens are no longer staying at home as business and traffic in Mombasa is almost back to normal figures prior to the pandemic,” said Dolan.

“The governor has expressed his desire to have a complete lockdown but this is impossible without the implementation of his own feeding program,” Dolan adds.