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Zack is grateful 5 years on amid queries about new centre

One of the articles in the Sunday Nation of this week five years ago was about Zack, he of the “Bring Zack Back Home” fame.

Mr Zack Kimotho had just finished his widely publicised two-month wheelchair trip, which was the engine of a campaign that raised Sh73 million in donations.

Bring Zack Back Home: The true story of Zack Kimotho

READ: Zack is back home with Sh73 million

SOLIDARITY

In the newspaper interview, Zack reflected on the perils of the 115-kilometre journey on a wheelchair, saying how motorists would sometimes come close to running him over and his team, especially on the Athi River-Namanga highway.

Five years on, Zack is still the optimist person that Kenyans knew — cheerful, open-minded and grateful.

Speaking with the Sunday Nation on Friday, Zack said that despite being under the weather a couple of times after the trip, he is still inspired by the response he got from Kenyans.

CARJACKERS
Asked what he does nowadays, he replied: “I just do my usual things; the chores of life.”

Zack has been confined to a wheelchair since 2004 when he was shot by carjackers in the spine and became paralysed.

He lives in Nairobi and is a father of one boy, who is now in Form Two.

“We are blessed. God takes care of everybody and He has taken good care of us,” he said.

PARAPLEGIC CENTRE
However, the Kenya Paraplegic Organisation (KPO) that was the organiser of the campaign seems less enthusiastic about media exposure.

Our efforts to get their comment this week were futile.

An administrator at the organisation wanted to see this reporter in person before connecting him to the person to comment.

During our meeting on Wednesday, she asked that we send an email.

We sent one detailing the areas of discussion, which included the progress of the construction of a centre that was to be funded by the money raised in the campaign.

ACCOUNTABILITY

We also needed a response to recently published claims on questionable withdrawal of funds.

There was no response to the email by Saturday.

Neither was there a response from Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, the KPO executive chairman, whom we contacted via SMS.

In previous interviews, Mr Wanyonyi — who is also paraplegic owing to a carjacking incident in 1998 that left him paralysed — has explained that all the money raised was spent transparently because it was in a special account.

TRUSTEES
The Sh73 million collected was spent in the construction of a spinal cord rehabilitation centre in Olooloitikosh, Kajiado County.

Deputy President William Ruto laid the foundation stone for the centre on August 2013.

“The contractor was paid directly from that account,” Mr Wanyonyi told a local publication on January 2016.

“We had signatories drawn from a board of trustees that we set up, and we also called in Deloitte who were the auditors,” he added.

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