Some African countries are considering emulating European countries by paying their citizens to facilitate their self-isolation move. A Senator in Kenya, Irungu Kang’ata this week was of the mind that it would be difficult to implement a lockdown in Kenya because a significant percentage of the population lives from hand to mouth.
Kang’ata said he supports the idea of staying home to avoid spreading Coronavirus but it is easier said than done. He added that those who are employed and on a monthly salary can afford to stay home because they will still get paid but most casual labourers will suffer. The senator proposed two solutions to this; distributing food to Kenyans and giving each Kenyan Sh10000 for upkeep.
“The informal sector is around 80%, these are people without any social support. If you tell them to stay home it is a choice between death from Coronavirus or death from hunger,” Irungu stated. I am of the view that cash transfer programmes are better than the distribution of food to the poor during a lockdown.”
Adding, he voiced that cash distribution would be better since there will be less interaction among people as opposed to food distribution where there will be queues and long intercounty drives.
“I am proposing Sh10,000 per family that is enough to meet basic needs for a person within the poverty line set by the United Nations. A person is living in poverty if they are living under Sh100 a day. So for a family of four, they’ll be spending Sh400 shillings a day. This multiplied by thirty days would be Ksh 12,000 then you remove Ksh 2000 because no one is travelling and get to Ksh 10,000,” explained Irungu.