Govt told to clean up maize mess

January 18, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – The church on Sunday called on the government to clean up its house to ensure no more Kenyans die of hunger.

Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi said the state must move with speed to provide food for more than 10 million hungry Kenyans, and also ensure relief food is not distributed to just a chosen few.

“In the past we have seen some people enriching themselves with relief food and the distribution is not done in a clear and orderly manner,” the Archbishop said.

Nzimbi spoke in reference to media reports that some top government officials were involved in a scandal where more than 100,000 bags of maize are missing from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

“So we are appealing to the government; when this food comes let it be done properly and orderly so that all areas with the needy people as far as food is concerned may be reached,” he told Capital News after the Sunday service.

The cleric also said that it was unpatriotic for politicians to hoard and trade with maize when Kenyans were starving to death.

“It is a pity if this has happened. It would mean they are not people who mind the affairs of Kenyans but only mind about enriching themselves.”

He called on the government to immediately embark on long term measures to avoid a recurrence of hunger situations and further urged fellow clergy to initiate appeals in order to provide for those who are starving.

“I know Kenya has got good planners when it comes to long term measures for food security, but the implementation is the problem,” he said.

“So when it comes to implementation, rather than the money getting to where it is supposed, it is channelled for other uses and here is where our government fails,” the Archbishop said.

The government on Friday launched a Sh37 billion emergency food relief appeal, and donors present said they were unimpressed by the graft scandals surrounding leaders and bad policies that may have contributed to the current food shortage.

While making the appeal, President Mwai Kibaki promised that his administration would avail subsidised fertilizer at affordable rates and reduce the prices of planting seed by 10 percent to enable farmers be more productive.

Elsewhere, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the government was working on ways to harness river water from Lake Victoria for irrigation purposes, to ease food insecurity.

Speaking in Nyatike, the Premier effused that the grand coalition government was determined to put up long term and sustainable solutions to the perennial drought in the country.


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