The new Constitution states that every person has the right to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality. It’s a shame that many Kenyans only hear of this and do not have access to this food. Gone, should be the days when we saw Kenyans dying of hunger or suffering from malnutrition.
I say this because with the technology we have nowadays we should be able to foresee the drought and put in place measures that will prevent grave situations, arising from the effects of the drought. With the Climate Change taking a toll on us, we need to realise that droughts will be more frequent and more severe in future hence the need to prepare now.
But why is it that the drought catches us by surprise? Why is it that we have to wait for a Kenyan to die or see the gravity of the situation for us to act?
I believe the reason behind the establishment of the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya & other Arid Lands was to deal with issues such as drought which particularly affect these marginalised areas. If at all we are going to achieve our Vision 2030 then the government needs to begin working seriously towards the development of Northern Kenya.
By development here I mean education, security, infrastructure; build road networks, provide electricity, adequate supply of water not only within the towns but beyond. There is also need to have a more proactive and progressive outlook in dealing with these challenges; whether it’s by using drought resistant crops, drip irrigation or building of proper storage facilities just to name a few.
I must commend the President who chaired a Cabinet meeting with the relevant ministers concerning food security and the issue of the La Nina phenomenon. He urged the ministers to institute practical measures that would immediately alleviate the suffering of the people in these areas.
However, my concern is how long the victims will wait for these measures to be put in place. Does it mean waiting for subsequent meetings to take place in the relevant ministries and in effect the delivery of essential supplies in these areas? I hope not.
The time for action is now even if it means the government sending trucks to these areas and supplying food to the people each day. Can we begin witnessing the government and non-governmental organisations, the private sector coming together to build foods reserves and starting off the school feeding programmes.
May we get volunteer relief workers and other aid workers particularly the youth to help in the distribution of relief food. We all need to lend a helping hand and save lives.
As for the long term, the decision to have Treasury allocate funds to buy fertilizer to enhance production of food within the affected areas is beneficial. Hopefully the Ministry of Development of Northern Kenya & other Arid Lands will continuously be allocated the funds necessary to support such plans and efforts that will develop the area and prepare the people for the future.
I recently travelled abroad and realised that the reason other countries develop faster than us is because they focus their energies on development matters rather than politics.
All in all, drought cannot and should not be an excuse for starvation. Let us use the technology we have or invest in better technology in order to forestall these pandemics and plan for them ahead of time. Let’s be well prepared as a country.