, PARIS, France, Apr 5 – Former President Mwai Kibaki will on Tuesday afternoon be appointed UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Water in Africa.
The former President will not however accept the appointment in person at an even in Paris, on account of his wife Lucy Kibaki’s ill health.
He will instead be represented by Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa.
He has nonetheless expressed gratitude at the appointment and vowed to do his very best in advocating for water conservation on the continent.
“I humbly assume the role of UNESCO Special Envoy for Water in Africa, an honour more Kenya’s – and indeed Africa’s – than mine as an individual,” he said in acceptance.
Kibaki’s strategy in his new appointment is to advocate for water conservation through rain water harvesting and recycling.
He says it is also critically important for Africa to protect its water towers and wetlands, which the late Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai dedicated her life to, as well as its aquifers.
“Undoubtedly, accessibility to water is a powerful trigger of socio-economic progress. Regrettably, the 21st Century finds many parts of Africa faced by severe water stress. This obviously spells doom to the quest and prospect of rescuing millions from poverty and disease in many parts of the continent.”
The remedy to which, he submits, is to inculcate a culture of water conservation in Africa’s future leaders through school programmes.
And to improve its lot, he said, Africa needs to tap into its as yet unexploited water resources. “The continent hosts one third of the world’s major international water basins covering more than 100,000 Km2.”
The exploration of which, he said, can only be successfully undertaken through a unified approach. “There is unexplored expertise within the continent that would, if better coordinated, chart a new destiny for water on the continent.”
The former President receives the appointment on account of the water reforms he undertook in Kenya while in office.
“Reforms that saw separation of water resource management and water services and the putting in place of the Water Act of 2002. It’s because of this that we’re getting the honour of having the former President as a water ambassador,” Wamalwa said.