Do not reduce relief funding for the marginalised counties

Women carry relief food in Kegolsogol village, Turkana South, after months of hunger following the exit of NGOs that used to support them following the Covid-19 outbreak in March. PHOTO | PETER WARUTUMO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • As a result, these regions have lagged behind in almost all economic, social, political sectors.

Efforts to reduce the allocation of funding from the exchequer for counties that have been marginalised since independence must be resisted and discouraged. Marginalised counties generally attracted less people, thus their sparse population.

Geographically, they are remote, with very poor or no roads at all. When colonialists came to Kenya, they built the railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi and on to Kisumu, covering the southern part of the country and leaving out a huge chunk to the North, commonly called the Northern Frontier.

Automatically, towns sprung up along the railway line.

Climatic wise, they are arid. They receive very little rainfall, making farming difficult, which leads to food scarcity.

Any crops grown have to contend with frequent locust invasions, which thrive in such warm conditions.

Even since independence, very few roads have been built to open up these regions.

As a result, they have lagged behind in almost all economic, social, political sectors.

Even the recent crude oil discovery in Turkana County has not jolted the current Jubilee government into repairing the Kitale-Lodwar road, which the colonialists built. They have been using lorries to haul crude oil all the way to Kitale.

But those counties that straddle the railway line from Mombasa to Kisumu and Kitale have grown tremendously, enjoying maximum government attention in almost all sectors.

They are like a magnet and have attracted people from especially marginalised counties for work, trade and construction, who in turn have created rental income for landlords and market for foodstuffs, factors that directly grow these towns. A part of the population in these towns is migrant.

Marginalised counties need a lot more funding to build good roads, airports, fund agriculture, build and fund healthcare facilities, build schools and provide water services for people and animals alike.

That will ensure people will not be running away to seek jobs in better counties in order to build theirs.

What the colonialists or successive post-independence governments did not do must be corrected and done by giving enough allocations. Counties with massive land expanses must not be punished for having lower populations.

ROBERT MUSAMALI, Nairobi