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Protest over funds for the disabled

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30- Parents with children suffering from various disabilities on Wednesday held daylong protests outside the Ministry of Gender and Social Services offices located at the NSSF building over failure by the government to disburse funds set aside to assist them.

They demanded that the Ministry immediately releases the cash which amounts to over Sh500 million.

"We have come here to demand our money which they have been promising us since the year 2009. We are not going to leave here until we get it!" said one parent who has a child with disability.

"We are ready to stay here even if it is for two weeks," she added amidst chants of "Haki yetu (we want our right) from other protesters.

They accused the ministry of holding the money on the basis that they were not genuine cases and shot down an attempt by Permanent Secretary James Nyikal to intervene.

"The minister has been giving us fake appointments… she has written letters to us that the money will be disbursed, until when will this go on and the money is not hers?" they told the PS who was addressing them through rails because the gates had been locked to shut out the demonstrators.

The Permanent Secretary had proposed that they register their names so that their exact number could be known but they refused and said they had already done so and the list was already with the ministry.

The protesters blocked Bishops Road causing a traffic snarl up and most vehicles had to use alternative routes.

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On Monday, the Gender and Social Services Minister Naomi Shaban denied the claims saying the funds were meant for all persons with disabilities and urged the parents to call of the demonstrations.

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