Please plan better, mother Africa

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AGNES GITAU

Africa over the last 10 years has developed tremendously, yet the continent still struggles to provide the basic needs for its citizens.

Recent headlines across the international media have been of one thing only – the dying children in Dadaab camp on the border of Kenya and Somalia. News and pictures of millions in danger of death due to lack of food frequent news channels across the globe, a reflection of negligence by Africa’s leadership and lack of crucial planning.

We at London Africa Media Network have over the years rallied for a positive image of Africa in the globe, yet the horrifying pictures of the drought impact is something we even cannot control. This is not prejudice of the Western media as Africa politicians would say, this is the reality! We must act to redeem ourselves.

The persistent failed rains and poor crop yields was predicted as early as December 2010 for Kenya.  Red Cross officials, appealed to Kenya’s leadership to declare a famine and a national disaster as early as January, yet nothing was done. According to the Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet the crisis will get worse and more people will be affected. Yet, had the country acted when it was prompted, lives would have been saved.

The freeze by the World Bank Famine relief fund has left the Kenyan government with no contingency plan and a drought glaring in its eyes. The recent trip to the United Kingdom by the Prime Minister with a begging bowl is further evidence of a country that cannot manage its affairs.  Fifty years on, we are still knocking doors of our colonial masters.

The biggest challenge remains with each of us, Diaspora, civil society, politicians etc.  Kenya needs sustainable solutions to counter drought, days of waiting for rains from heaven are long gone.

Kenya must address its water deficiency by investing in scientific tools for forecasting and gauging water levels. Scientific innovations are required to predict future weather patterns and to take into account land gradients when constructing rainwater impounding dams for irrigation.

It’s a shame that a country like ours with such rich human resource and a predicted economic growth of over five percent – depending on who you speak – to can continue begging.  The lines “Raha tupate na ustawi” in our national anthem should have some revelations for each one of us.

I have watched the painful pictures of children, mothers, fathers and young men reduced to bones constantly displayed in every media house out here, and it hurts so much, the feeling of helplessness and anger overtakes my sanity. Angry at our lack of leadership, a country that cannot feed its people has no mandate to govern. A leadership that steals from the helpless people, by mismanaging funds meant for drought resistance programmes… yet we call ourselves sovereign?

Wasn’t a politician exonerated for his role in the biggest maize scandal the country has ever witnessed where most of the national cereals were sold for personal commercial gains? It’s a shame the way we have handled our affairs, and we shouldn’t expect sympathy from anyone. Why should the West bail us out yet again? Why can’t we and our leadership open our eyes that in our plush neighbourhoods, and bullet proofed four wheelers, our countrymen are dying?

If we want to be respected, we must at least feed our people!

If appropriate adaptation measures are not taken, we will witness severe food insecurity, problems of land degradation in search of elusive livelihoods, underdevelopment as water touches every aspect of development and an upsurge in the disease burden, Alfred Opere a lecturer in Nairobi University stated.

“African governments should seriously think of setting up centres of excellence dedicated to climate-change research and the time to act is now as we are yet to see the worst of scenarios resulting from climate change.”

Kenyans especially the Diaspora will have to put up with embarrassing pictures of dying animals and children for some time, until the day we decide to act.

Please contact Disaster Emergency Committee for more details of how you can help. http://www.dec.org.uk/item/506?gclid=CPyP9NTi96kCFegNtAodvCkWfA

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  • Stella

    Wow! Very informative. You cannot begin to imagine the mistakes I have been making especially with regard to sunscreen. Point 8, 9 and 10 are definitely on my watchlist now.

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