- KARO needs to organise, sensitise and energise retirees to fight for their rights.
- Retired officers will seek an appointment with President and even hold national prayers
Kenya Retired Officers (KARO) has announced a series of activities it seeks to undertake to reduce the suffering of its members.
The patron, Kiraitu Murungi, said many retirees are depressed because they cannot meet their basic needs and depend on their children, relatives and well-wishers to sustain them and take care of their medical bills.
“Out of 5, 000 members, 25 per cent receive a pension of less than Sh4,000 per month. This situation is made worse given the high cost of living evidenced by the skyrocketing prices of food, fuel and other basic commodities,” he stated.
He said KARO has to lead retired officers out of their suffering in retirement.
“In so doing, we have to learn from some of the best practices available locally,” he said.
“We have to change our strategy from ‘quiet diplomacy’ and become the ‘activists’ for retired officers,” he added.
He added that KARO needs to organise, sensitise and energise retirees to fight for their rights.
“We need to cause some drama and high-profile media events to highlight the plight of retired officers. We need more written petitions, more meetings and more noise,” Murungi said.
Murungi, a former Cabinet minister and ex-governor of Meru County, noted that KARO will be seeking to have meetings with the National Treasury, petition Parliament, file petitions in court and take delegations to Cabinet Secretaries.
He added that they will also seek an appointment with President and even hold national prayers for retired officers.
“Nothing comes easy. We have to struggle and sweat so that we can change the thinking of those responding to issues of retirees,” he stated.
Murungi added that the prolonged struggle for an upward review of pensions for all categories is “now more urgent than never before.”
He noted that retirement is usually accompanied by poor ageing and poor health.
“Retirement is a major source of financial hardships, stress and worry. The first concern is the adequacy of pensions. When money is scarce, and basic needs cannot be met, life can be full of emotional pain and mental distress,” he stated.
He made the remarks on Wednesday during a retreat at Kilifi Beach Hotel, Kiraitu
Murungi added that the NHIF cover is expensive and beyond the financial reach of many retirees.
“It is sad to note that only 1,777 (34 per cent) out of the 5,000 plus KARO members can afford this cover,” he stated.
He promised to raise the profile and visibility of KARO nationally.