NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Controversy is mounting over the treatment of three children who survived the deadly Kiambaa arson attack on a church at the height of post election violence last year.
Special Programmes Minister Naomi Shaban said that an appeal for assistance for the three minors by a group of non governmental organisations was not genuine.
She said the government had already settled hospital bills for the minors.
“I am surprised that people right now have come in to try and raise money,” the Minister said adding: “We as a Ministry and the government of Kenya have actually paid Sh1.8 million for the treatment of those children at Kijabe mission hospital.”
“Not even once did I see a shilling being paid by well wishers.”
Dr Shaban said that the government had also assisted the parents of those children in resettlement and taken the minors to private schools for their education.
She added that the state was aware the children, Mary Wahito, Mercy Wanjiru and Anthony Njoroge aged 16, 14 and 11 respectively needed reconstructive surgery and was already working on the issue.
The Centre for Justice and Crimes against Humanity, a non governmental organisation had on January 1 appealed for Sh30 million from well wishers to facilitate specialised treatment for the children abroad.
“Nobody has consulted us and we don’t know where the figure of Sh30 million came from. May be they went and consulted some private hospitals, I don’t know,” said Dr Shaban.
“But medically speaking I know that those children can be taken care of even here in the country. I have consulted the director of Kenyatta National Hospital and those children are going to be seen by a team of plastic surgeons so that a decision can be made.”
The trio suffered severe burns on their bodies on January 1 last year in an arson attack on the Eldoret-based Kenya Assemblies of God that left 28 people dead.
However when contacted by Capital News, the Secretary of the Centre for Justice and Crimes against Humanity Dr Joseph Chege termed the Minister’s remarks as an ‘over reaction’ and not factual.
“A patient in this country or anywhere for that matter has got the right to ask for assistance from anybody who is willing to give them assistance and to that end we got the request from the patients through their parents and we have documents to show that we legally represent them in this appeal,” Dr Chege said.
He claimed that senior officials’ at the Ministry of Special Programmes have visited the children on several occasions and the ministry is aware of what the NGO was doing.
On the Sh30 million, Dr Chege said the figure was calculated on the basis of needs.
“There is the medical cost which is estimated at Sh6 million for treatment in the United States and it was estimated by the Kijabe Mission hospital where the children were being treated,” he said.
He added that the rest of the amount would go to sustenance cost in terms of accommodation and daily requirements which would include those of the guardians.