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Kenya Cabinet in crisis meeting

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11 – President Mwai Kibaki on Tuesday morning convened a Special Cabinet meeting to discuss the food and water crises in the country.

In the past three months, Kenya has experienced an acute water shortage which has been blamed on the damage to the country’s water catchment areas, wetlands and rivers by human activities.

However, even as the Cabinet met, controversy surrounding the Mau Forest, Kenya’s main water catchment area remained unresolved with political bickering over the eviction and compensation of settlers.

Legislators from the Rift Valley region have held onto their hard-line positions and said ‘their people’ cannot be moved until they were compensated.

But even as they continued arguing, the water crisis in the country worsens by the day.

Environmentalist Prof Wangari Maathai has accused the government of double speak saying it should use its authority to take urgent action, eject people from the Mau Forest and begin a restoration programme that will salvage the forest.

She has also questioned the issuance of licenses to private developers to construct on wetlands and rivers especially in Nairobi’s Westlands area.

Two weeks ago, she led demonstrators to stop illegal constructions on a grabbed wetland in Spring Valley.

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Due to the damage of rivers, wetlands and forests worsened by the climate change, most areas of the country have been hit by drought, a strong indication that the country is likely to face famine.

The Cabinet meeting also comes as the country introduced an indefinite power rationing programme; another by-product of the water crisis, as Kenya entirely depends on hydro energy for electricity.


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