Kenya PM pledges fight against poverty

March 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has reassured Kenyans that the Grand Coalition administration was determined to institute sound governance policies tailored to improve the living standards of the people.

He said at the launch of the Kazi Kwa Vijana (KIKWAVI) programme in Yatta district that the government wanted to break away from old traditions which he attributed to the slow growth in economy since the country attained independence.

The Premier regretted that successive post independence regimes had failed to initiate a tangible development agenda owing to the widespread poverty and under-development in the country. “It is very discouraging to learn that successive regimes never made efforts to empower the citizenry by initiating similar irrigation projects in arid regions.  This government wants to shift from such retrogressive practices,” he said.

He cited the 60 kilometre Yatta canal which was constructed in the early 1950 by the colonial regime but had since not been extended or improved to cover more areas after the independence.

He however announced that the government had recommended plans to construct another canal in Ukambani adding that it was time similar initiatives were undertaken to empower farmers in arid and semi arid areas of the country to exploit their potentials.

He cited the Thika, Tana and Athi rivers which empty their waters in the ocean, yet such resource can easily be tapped in for irrigation purposes.  He announced the government would embark on water harvesting ventures.

He said the KIKWAVI initiative was one of the pilot projects the government had initiated to fight poverty, unemployment and the looming famine to ensure that at least over 300,000 jobless youth were engaged in gainful activities.

Mr Odinga said the current administration wanted to discourage famine victims from over dependency on relief supplies by empowering them to earn their livelihood rather than waiting for handouts from the State.

He said the programme which would include de-silting of water pans and dams, road constructions and other project would be rolled out in every constituency in the country on an annual basis.

The PM also announced that the government had subsidised the prices of fertilizers and seeds in an effort to promote crop production at the onset of the long rain towards realisation of food security in the wake crop failure in successive seasons.

He also urged the farmers to adopt modern farming techniques to boost their harvest in the wider war against poverty.

The Premier made the assurance in Matuu town when he – jointly with President Mwai Kibaki  – led other top government officials to launch the KIKWAVI initiative.


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