Lobby to whip African states to act on drought

August 15, 2011 2:03 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15 – African activists and music celebrities have launched a campaign dubbed ‘Africans Act 4 Africa’ to push governments to respond to famine to ensure Africans do not die of hunger again.

Pan Africa Director of Oxfam International Irungu Houghton told journalists that African governments had failed to address the famine that has been almost a normal occurrence over the years.

“The response from African leaders has so far been much too little and much too late. It has been very lacklustre, we have to push them so that we are not called upon two years later to pay for government’s inadequacy,” Mr Houghton said.

He said through the campaign, governments will be put on the spot to check how much they are contributing to alleviate famine.

He said it was unacceptable that people have been dying of hunger yet African governments’ response has always been fruitless as it comes late and inefficient.

The Africans Act 4 Africa campaign which brings on board African musicians, civil society groups and members of the public will also be creating awareness and taking action targeting to tell their governments to ensure this is the last time that famine kills people on the continent.

Mr Houghton further said the governments will be rallied to contribute a total of Sh4.6 billion as emergency funds to address the famine that has already caused a crisis in the Horn of Africa.

Although the African Union has pledged about Sh46 million, he expressed displeasure that most of key African governments had pledged nothing towards the emergency kitty.

He said the campaign will also be used as a platform of ‘naming and shaming’ governments doing nothing or too little to help their citizens.

Mr Houghton also announced that on August 25 a donor pledging conference will be held in Nairobi with an aim of raising funds as well as calling on African governments to act to end deaths and suffering due to famine.

“We need to ensure a food independent Africa.  We cannot be truly independent until we are certain that no African citizen can starve to death again. This was wholly preventable.  It is symptomatic of failure to address the root causes of food insecurity in the region,” he asserted.

He felt that though it was imperative for governments to provide aid, it was crucial for them to deal with the foundation of the food crisis such as conflict and lack of proper planning.

Popular Kenyan musician Sara Mitaru said already Kenyan musicians had asserted their support for the campaign.

She said they were planning to hold a series of concerts across Africa over the next five years to raise funds to cater for long-term measures that will ease the burden of famine.

Noting the influence that that musicians enjoy in most African societies, she urged colleagues in her industry to use the same energy to bring big crowds and pass the message of contributing to the famine kitty across the continent.

“We are channelling the same strength, the same capacity to rally crowds, audiences and tell Africans, ‘Act 4 Africa.  For the next couples of weeks we are going to ask civilians to look into cameras and say ‘I will Act 4 Africa,” she said.

According to Ms Mitaru, the messages recorded on video will be channelled to social media forums like Twitter, Facebook etc.

The campaign has been signed by 12 Pan African networks.


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