When the 2016 World Giving Index published by UK-based Charities Aid Foundation ranked Kenya as Africa’s most generous country, the last thing on anybody’s mind was the possibility of that generosity being taken ‘advantage’ of by an influx of foreign beggars.
That is, however, the line of consideration that the National Council for Persons with Disabilities in Kenya is towing as it has called for an immediate probe into the influx of foreign beggars in Kenya.
The private Daily Nation newspaper reports that the head of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities in Kenya, David ole Sankok, said “cartels” have been trafficking beggars into the country to “prey on the kindness of Kenyans”.
David ole Sankok claims that the cartel behind this supposed influx of foreign beggars is doing it for commercial gain. He insists that over 10,000 disabled people have been ferried into Kenya to beg on the streets. These foreign beggars are allegedly brought into Kenya through the aid of cartels, then they flock to towns attaching themselves to local beggars before gaining their footing and begging alone.
“There must be someone organising the entry of these foreign beggars into most Kenyan town centres. It appears they are being dropped at specific positions very early in the morning and picked up late in the evening,”
“There are cartels in the port of Mombasa who are allowing this corruption to happen and we want them investigated.”
The head of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities is, therefore, asking that President Uhuru Kenyatta begin diplomatic talks with his Tanzanian counterpart, President John Magufuli on getting the beggars from Tanzania back to their own country.
He also called on the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to probe people who were using these disabled individuals “to import vehicles duty-free”.
This is not the first time an alarm has been raised on the issue of the influx of foreign beggars. A 2010 article by the Standard newspaper documented an interview with a beggar from Tanzania.
The beggar had declared that Kenyan money was of infinitely greater value than Tanzanian currency, making begging in Kenya a real steal, but could a cartel actually be organising the beggars to come in?
We may have to wait for the results of the probe by the National Council for Persons with Disabilities to be clear on that.