President Uhuru Kenyatta has moved to lock out brokers in his plan to support vulnerable families during the Covid-19 pandemic. For a long time, the government had been distributing foodstuff instead of cash, but this model has now changed.

“Every week, my administration has been dispatching a total of Ksh250 million to vulnerable families. In the past, if a family could not feed itself because of floods or famine, or other such natural calamities we rushed to give them relief food.

“Government got suppliers, gave them resources to buy the food and arranged for the logistics of distributing the relief to those in need,” he highlighted.

Speaking at statehouse during his 7th presidential address regarding Coronavirus on Saturday, May 23, he noted that previously, middlemen would take advantage of the bureaucracy and long supply chain to rob worthy beneficiaries of their fair share of government donations.

As such, his administration had resolved to make direct cash transfers to individual families identified by the government.

“We had to change this method of support delivery by leveraging on technology through cash transfers directly to the families. This way we have by-passed brokers and cartels,” he explained.

“We noted that half of the financial resources given to relief suppliers were lost to brokers and logistics. Very little of such resources reached to the targeted group,” he spoke.

Apart from bypassing middlemen, the president also explained another reason behind the decision to leverage on technology in the cash transfer program.

“Money in the hands of a family gives them the power to make economic choices in their local spaces and not depend on lining up to receive food donations,” he emphasised.

The move was inspired by the efforts to minimise public gathering which would increase the risk of spreading Covid-19 to more people.

The balance of distributing donations and avoiding crowding has sparked innovations from members of the public.

Raphael Marambi from Rongai, Kajiado County has created an electronic voucher system to help in the distribution of donations.

“Through this innovation, one can keep tabs on the donations given to the vulnerable members of the society because a donor can select the people to send donations to, straight to their phones, where the recipients can use the code to purchase items through mobile money services,” he explained.