• Jama cautioned those handling the consignment that they will be personally held responsible for any mismanagement.
• Neighboring Northeastern counties did not receive adequate rainfall during last October-November short rain season.. NDMA says 509,000 people are food insecure.
Garissa Governor Nathif Jama on Monday hit out at the Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakango, accusing her of being out of touch with reality on the ground.
Nyakango's office last week accused county governments of wasteful spending, saying the counties are splurging a bigger chunk of their revenue on recurrent expenditure at the expense of development.
The law requires that counties spend at least 35 per cent of their revenues on development. In her report last week, Nyakang'o stated that all the governors violated that law.
But Jama says the CoB is blind to realities on the ground. He said county chiefs cannot initiate development programmes when residents are starving.
"We have a lot of regard and respect for you but these reports that you claiming we committed very little on development are neither here nor there. We plead with you to spare some time and come see what we go through on the ground," he said.
"Only then will you understand the true situation,” Jama said in an apparent statement to the CoB.
Jama, who chairs the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands committee of the Council of Governors, said the drought situation was alarming and that to him, the priority has changed to feeding his hungry population.
“I am a very conscious governor on matters development, but there are times when it becomes very difficult to fulfil some of these development projects,” he said.
Jama spoke in Modogashe during a food distribution drive on Monday.
The governor warned of stern action against anyone found diverting relief food meant for drought-stricken residents.
He said those handling the consignment that they will be personally held responsible incase of any mismanagement.
The food stuffs that will benefit 3,000 families include maize flour, sugar, salt, cooking oil, milk, tea leaves and porridge.
“We have some individuals who have perfected the art of stealing and diverting relief food meant for the poor and most vulnerable in the society. These characters should not be given a chance at all,” Jama said.
His warning comes barely a week after Garissa County Commissioner Boaz Cherutich said that the government was keenly monitoring the whole exercise closely, noting that any issue that will be reported related to diversion of food will be dealt with firmly.
Garissa, just like the neighboring counties in Northeastern, did not receive adequate rainfall during the last October-November short rain season. NDMA says 509,000 people are food insecure.
Jama who had on Monday last week launched several drought response initiatives in the county, further urged wananchi to be remain alert and report to the relevant authorities any individual they suspect to be involved in relief food diversion.
“I want to categorically state that this is one very important exercise that has cost millions of shillings from both the national and county governments as well as from other development partners. I don’t want to hear of any monkey business in this exercise,” he said.
He went on, “The deputy county commissioner, local administrators as well as the subounty administrators should work closely with the local elders in their respective jurisdiction and ensure only to deserving Kenyans who are from the vulnerable households.
Jama who disclosed that mapping has already been done and that nobody will be left behind was however quick to appeal to the local elders in the villages to help in monitoring the exercise and report any deserving individuals that might have been left out so that they can also be assisted.
(Edited by V. Graham)