Africa has begged far too long and must now start feeding its people
Posted Thursday, May 17 2012 at 20:00
The declaration by the UN that Africa has suitable conditions to feed its people was spot on.
At no other time have I ever heard the UN coming out to tell Africa the truth.
The UN did not mince its words in reminding Africa (read Kenya) that begging food is an affront to our dignity.
While reading the story about the report in the Wednesday Nation, I couldn’t help but visualise a mother somewhere scolding her 26-year-old son who has refused to move out from the comfort of his mother’s house.
The UN was simply telling Africa in the presence of our Head of State, that it has grown up, and therefore should take care of meeting its basic needs.
According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, food is a physiological need.
When any need in this category is not met, the body and mind think of nothing else. Hunger stifles creativity and impairs judgment.
The temptation to rob rises in proportion to not minding getting jailed, for example.
These most basic needs must be met before the individual will aspire for the secondary or higher level needs.
Africa has failed to realise that, for development to take place, it must first of all meet its people’s basic needs, food being top on the list.
Africa in general, and Kenya in particular have failed to put effective policies for food security because the UN, Red Cross and other donors have always responded positively and swiftly whenever hunger, flood or drought is baptised national disaster.
It has been easy to hoodwink the donors that hunger comes as a result of failed rains, poverty as a result of floods, and so on.
But from the UNDP report, it seems the UN has realised that hunger in Africa is artificial caused by laziness in our leaders who are like the man “still in my mother’s house”.
Today, we are seeing so much water not only go to waste, but also drown us with our animals, submerge our houses, and take our roads back Sh10 billion.
Tomorrow we shall complain about the sweltering heat in the sun, covering our noses with dust masks while our Kenyan brothers in Turkana, parts of Ukambani, and North Eastern will be negotiating with their stomach to accept just three meals in a week due to failed rains. What a shame!
We are sitting pretty, watching the precious water flowing from where it is needed most to where it is least needed — the Indian Ocean.
The government needs to wake up from its deep slumber like the UN did and realise that it has placed the cart before the horse.
As much as projects like Thika super highway are good, they belong to the secondary hierarchy of needs.