International

Outrage as Kenya spends virus funds on tea and snacks

Poor Kenyans have had to rely on food donations during the pandemic

Kenyans online are outraged after the ministry of health spent huge sums on tea, snacks and mobile phone airtime for its staff in the battle against coronavirus pandemic.

Some 4m Kenyan shillings ($37,000; £30,000) has been spent on tea and snacks, while 2m Kenyan shillings has been used on airtime for staff, according to the ministry’s budget that has been made public.

This is part of a budget of 10m Kenyan shillings for tea and snacks for an unspecified period and 6m Kenyan shillings for airtime for three months.

Other items in the budget include leasing of ambulances, stationary and fuel.

The money was part of the $9.3m donated by the World Bank to Kenya for emergency response during the pandemic.

Kenyan newspapers on Thursday headlined with a rebuke of the expenditure.

On social media citizens pointed out how poor Kenyans had nothing to eat and doctors do not have adequate protective equipment:

“You are charging Kenyans for mandatory quarantine and subsequent treatment in time of a global pandemic while shamelessly telling us you spent tens of millions of ksh on printing and tea!” Njau Muchira tweeted.

“How you spend millions on tea and snacks while people don’t even have face masks is obnoxious and cantankerous,” Walter Nyauma tweeted.

“A certain ministry allocates itself 4 millions just on tea and snacks in 1 month while a woman in Mombasa resorts to boiling stones just to convince her children that there is food cooking,” Denzin tweeted.