Residents of Gatundu Sub-County in Kiambu County have applauded the ban on betting machines saying they were a conduit to plundering of resources meant for families.
The residents said the ban should have come earlier as many families had been suffering in silence as their sole bread winners engaged in betting with the hope of making a fortune from the activity.
Talking to KNA Wednesday from Gatundu town, a hardware businessman John Muhofani said that they had planned to demonstrate against the rampant use of the betting machines prior to the ban.
He explained that the situation was getting out of hand for some families since two men from the area had tried committing suicide after they had lost all their money in the game which was addictive.
One of the victims was a motorcycle operator who was irked after he lost the game and even destroyed the machine, yet he was to clear his machine loan for which he used to pay Sh5, 000 per month.
Muhofani further said that he had received calls to threaten him the previous day that they should not push through with the strike as they were financially obligated.
Their effort to report the matter to the police bore no fruits as they were chased away from the station and the resident suspected the officers were conniving with the business people for some protection fee.
According to the businessman, the machines were not helping them in anyway but had rendered scores of youths who had been eking a livelihood as motorcycles operators jobless as the machines have been taken away by the owners as the youths could not remit their daily proceeds.
One Njogu Munene, was also paraded at a public baraza for attempting to commit suicide after losing his bet but was rescued by the villagers.
The government should not try creating jobs for the youths. What they should do is to eliminate the loopholes that devour their income, he remarked.
Another resident John Mungai said that doing away with the betting machines would create a better environment for them to work in.
Speaking on behalf of other women, one Mary Nduta said that the betting machines had eaten into their kitchen budgets since their husbands were not giving them enough money for their families’ upkeep.
She said that doing away with the machines would help in bringing them back to their homes early so that they could take responsibility.
She further complained that their children had also been recruited into the betting activity which made them steal money from the homes to satisfy their urge for making quick money.
The children had also become rebellious and unruly to the parents as they felt they were financially stable.
We as the people of Gatundu need projects that will help us move forward such as cows to invest in milk production and not introducing loopholes such as betting machines to devour our men and children, she said.
Source: Kenya News Agency