The tale of Peninah Bahati, a 36-year-old widow in Kisauni, Mombasa County is one that moved the whole nation and beyond.
Her story was highlighted in the media capturing the plight of hunger and frustration that she was unable to feed her family. For instance, she was forced to cook stones for her 8 children to make them believe that she was preparing food for them.
Following her story, Kenyans were moved and came out in large numbers to make donations. A bank account was also opened to her name while another section of people sent money via mobile money to her cell phone.
However, Peninah now says that the funds that had been collected have varnished, with no form of accountability. For instance, the widow whose 4-month old daughter died in May says she has already exhausted the funds that were sent directly to her mobile phone.
— Rogers Atukunda (@rarrigz) May 1, 2020
She states that the committee that was formed to collect the funds on her behalf went missing, with the money estimated to be slightly over Sh1 million.
“Peninah received a lot of funds, amounting to over Ksh1 million if I am not wrong. I could not be part of that committee because I am the one who highlighted Peninah’s plight. I only requested to be informed occasionally about the kitty progress. Since that time to date, I haven’t heard a single word from them (committee members),” said Prisca Momanyi, a neighbor.
Momanyi further added:
“We only read news articles in the media that they moved her to a new house and even bought her a parcel of land. When I visited Peninah recently, I was shocked to find her still living in the same house, under the same deplorable conditions. When I asked her what happened to the money well-wishers contributed for her, she broke down in tears, saying she was yet to receive a single penny from the committee members.”
The neighbors have revealed that reports that swirled on social media alluding that a house had been built for the widow are wrong.
“They (committee members) have never called to tell me where the parcel of land they allegedly bought me is located. People call to ask what I did with their money. I end up being speechless because I have never received a single coin of their contribution from the committee,” said the widow.