NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 9 – The Kenyans4Kenya initiative received another boost on Tuesday, with lawmakers and parliamentary staff contributing Sh8.38 million.
The Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende said out of this amount Sh6.63 million came from MPs, while the remaining Sh1.75 million came from parliamentary staff.
When presenting the donation to the Kenya Red Cross, Mr Marende castigated the government for poor management of the famine crisis, which he said was avoidable.
The Speaker said; “the only explanation there maybe for the kind of predicament that we are now facing , will be that somebody somewhere is sleeping on the job; so we want to appeal to all of us to wake up from whatever positions we serve and we ensure we produce enough food.”
Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Abbas Gullet on his part also cited the lack of planning saying the weatherman’s warnings in January this year were ignored.
“The debate we have had in the country about whether someone has died or not is not even the question. Kenyans should not find themselves in the situation they are already. It is our collective responsibility as a nation to ensure that no Kenyan ever dies of hunger or hunger related illness,” he said.
The government has denied allegations that any Kenyan could have died because of the hunger in the drought stricken areas of Northern Kenya.
Government Spokesman Alfred Mutua said the government was yet to be updated of any deaths linked to hunger in the region while Internal Security Assistant Minister Orwa Ojode told Parliament last week that reports of deaths were probably due to diseases.
Mr Gullet said that the Kenya must end it’s over reliance on rain-fed agriculture by adapting to irrigation which is sustainable in Turkana and the Northern Eastern region feed them.
He commended the effort Kenyans had made to ensure people in need of food aid received it.
“We all have the responsibility one way or another to ensure these people in marginalized communities are taken care of,” he said.
According to the Kenyans4Kenya website, contributions made by the public were at Sh183,707,798 gathered through mobile money transfer services, direct deposits into the KCB account and collections made at Nakumatt tills by 2pm on Tuesday evening.
Corporate pledges account for Sh301,368,880 while Sh53,400,000 are amounts donated in kind.
Safaricom and Kenya Commercial Bank in co-operation with the Media Owners Association (MOA) started the initiative to raise Sh500 million to feed 3.5 million Kenyans facing starvation.
The fund has been open to all Kenyans with the minimum contribution pegged at Sh10, with service charges waived.
At the same time, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim raised questions on the government’s accountability and transparency procedures and vowed that Parliament would closely monitor implementation of the Sh14 billion allocated to drought mitigation by the government.
“The accountability and scrutiny of Parliament is going to be used optimally, when you see us taking Cabinet Ministers on Motions of censure, or Permanent Secretaries or government civil servants for having misused this money, you will not allow somebody to go back and discriminate and say my community is being finished,” he said.
“When Kenyans are dying as they are right now and somebody still has the audacity to steal this money or to give to his friends at twice or thrice the normal value that person deserves no mercy from Kenyans,” the Deputy Speaker stated.