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Kenyans starving because of poor planning by government

Tuesday January 18 2011

Hundreds of people and their animals are facing starvation. They have no food, water and pasture. Some of them have already died.

The Kenya Red Cross says five million people are in dire need of food aid. It is embarrassing for a nation that can be a food basket to be losing lives because of poor policies.

We are indeed far from attaining the first millennium development goal of halving poverty and eradicating hunger. We lack a clear plan on how to get there.

This time round the meteorological department was not caught pants down. It predicted and forewarned the government of looming drought.

The worrying thing is that the government always runs with food rations from humanitarian donors then slumbers back to its comfort zone, as though awaiting the next catastrophe.

If President Bingu wa Mutharika of Malawi turned around the country from net food importer to net food exporter — to countries like Kenya — to become one of the leading African countries in food security within so short a time, don’t we feel ashamed of ourselves as a government? Even Tanzania and Uganda are not begging for food.

The dying Kenyans with their feeble voices are crying to be heard and they cannot understand why the minister for Agriculture, Dr Sally Kosgei, can let hundreds of bags of maize rot and others not be bought and donated to them as a short term measure.

This misdemeanour demoralises the farmers who work hard but get peanuts for all their efforts.


Leaders indifferent

Kenya is a nation of contrasts. Most of the time, we act indifferently to situations that call for speedy solutions.

We are suffering a drought that needs urgent action. At the same time we have our Ocampo Six that need to appear in a court in Europe.

Many leaders are calling for the financing of the expenses for the six. The drought aspect has received less attention, yet it is threatening more lives.

Sometime back, the Special Programmes minister blasted the WFP. The minister told them that if they thought they were doing Kenya a favour they had better pack up their food rations and leave.

It is this kind of thinking that keeps us hungry. Our MPs trade accusations against one another. They get very busy forging alliances for 2012 as Kenyans sleep hungry. Where do they think voters will get the will and the energy to vote? Where do our priorities lie?