"It is not from your own goods that you give to the beggar; it is a portion of his own that you are restoring to him. The Earth belongs to all. So you are paying back a debt and think you are making a gift to which you are not bound."
- Saint Ambrose
Can a prohibition on giving arms, food, and clothes to kid beggars on the street help to discourage begging?
Surprisingly, a section of Kenyans has urged lawmakers in the country to emulate their Ugandan counterparts and criminalize the giving of material assistance to street children, arguing that it can drive beggars out of the streets.
It appears people believe begging is a choice and has become a lucrative source of livelihood for many – an act which Kenyans believe should be discouraged.
You will recall that Ugandan MPs are set to pass a law that prohibits people from offering money, food or any other donation to a street child. Kenyans believe that the authorities in their country should follow suit and sign the same bill into law.
As per the bill, any Ugandan who violates the law risks being jailed for up to six months or paying a fine equivalent to Sh1,114.
Speaking to the BBC earlier this month, Kampala’s Mayor Erias Lukwago said that the law will also penalize traffickers, agents and parents of the children found begging or selling items on the street.
Reacting to the news after it was first reported by Daily Nation, Kenyans revealed the schemes beggars use in various town and called for the government to prevent the offering of arms to the beggars.
“This is the way to go as the so-called street children are merely businesspeople robbing unsuspecting members of the public,” commented Jim Bonnie.
Jerry Abwao stated: “Comical offense but sensible enough; judging from the aggressive antics we encounter in Nairobi mostly from fake street kids.”
But some Kenyans disagreed with any efforts to decriminalize giving.
Waweru Cole argued: “The kids will just become criminals and take the money and valuables themselves.”
“If you hate them, let those who wish to help continue until the government comes up with clear policies on them,” Moses Guchu wrote.
“There is a woman on Karuna Road in Westlands who is mostly clad in buibui; she once told me begging pays more than a person who is employed,” Evans Mori.
What do you think about these comments?
Header Image Credit: Africanews