MORE THAN 8 MILLION

Suffering widows to be helped by proposed fund

Lawmaker says kitty to cushion widows from abuses by kinsmen; form saccos

In Summary

• MP wants the government to consider classifying widows as a disadvantaged group as justification for creating the Widows Fund. 

• Concerned that many widows face numerous problems including loss of income and property after their husbands die. 

Igembe South MP John Paul Mwirigi is sworn in on August 31, 2017.
NO PENSION: Igembe South MP John Paul Mwirigi is sworn in on August 31, 2017.
Image: FILE

Widows may soon access funds for the disadvantaged like those for youth and women's groups if a proposal to create the kitty succeeds. 

Igembe South MP John Paul Mwirigi wants the government to establish the fund because of concerns over the abuse nd squalid conditions that over eight million widows suffer.

Further, he wants the government to consider classifying widows as a disadvantaged group as justification for creating the Widows Fund. 

The MP, in a statement at the chambers on Wednesday morning, said he was concerned many widows face numerous challenges including loss of income and property after their husbands die.

“Widows suffer insecurity, economic hardships, social discrimination, degrading treatment as well as physical and mental abuse,” he said.

“The challenges could be mitigated by providing them with alternative sources of income that would afford them a level of liberty and dignity in their lives." 

The MP said the fund, whose value would be set by the Budget Committee, will be for the sole purpose of empowering women economically. 

Widows will be expected to form groups through which they will apply for the fund, a situation he says will help reduce cases of mistreatment of widows.

“Many widows don’t have pension since not many men are employed.” 

Mwirigi argues that since the funds for the elderly only cater for people above 70, many widows are normally locked out, especially in the face of the country’s life expectancy being 67 years. 

About Sh24 billion was allocated in this year’s specialised funds budget of which Sh16.6 billion was set aside for cash for elderly persons. 

Another Sh7.9 billion was slotted for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) while Sh1.1 billion for persons with severe disabilities.

In addition, Sh2.3 billion was set aside for the Kenya Hunger Safety Net Programme, Sh100 million to support those with albinism and Sh200 million for the National Council for Persons with Disabilities Fund. 

Edited by R.Wamochie